Bruce Zimmermann came within an out of a quality start for the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon. Not that it really mattered, because Zimmermann isn’t getting the run support he needs to win games. He’s pitching a decent season to this point, it just isn’t reflected in the won/loss column. Zimmermann’s line: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K.
The O’s actually had the lead in this one. Pat Valaika’s RBI-single in the second inning gave them a 1-0 lead. They led Friday night and today, but never yesterday. Nevertheless, they still lost all three games. And Tampa would even things up in the third on the way to victory with an RBI-single by Diaz.
Tampa took the lead in the fourth on a two-RBI single by Walls. The worst part? It was a rally that started in typical Tampa fashion; that being quirky. Lowe got on with an infield single to lead off the inning. The Orioles shifted to the left, leaving the left field line unoccupied. Lowe smacked a swinging bunt which bounced foul and then bounced back fair before the bag.
But Tampa doesn’t care that they’re hitting the ball well or making it look good while doing it. They care about getting guys on base. So that quirky single against the shift was as good as a squared up line drive that smacks off the wall to them.
And on that note Brandon Hyde may have inadvertently helped them out. With runners at first and second in the seventh, Tampa sent Meadows up as a pinch hitter. Hyde opted to put him on, and he was followed by Arozarena. There was one out, and Arozarena had been scuffling. So Hyde was hoping for a ground ball double-play.
But almost predictably, Arozarena broke out of his slump, and sent a deep drive that ever-so-barely made it over the fence in right field, for a grand slam. That have Tampa a 7-1 lead. And that was the final.
I wouldn’t have walked Meadows. First off when you match up like that, usually Tampa’s ready for you. However Hyde did that with third base open. Usually managers only do it with first base open. That makes a difference.
But even still, Tampa’s a team that thrives off of getting guys on base. Why give them an extra base runner? They almost shamelessly take whatever they can get, however they can get it. You could almost see that grand slam coming a mile away.
The Orioles now head for Cleveland to open a four-game set at Progressive Field. The Birds have yet to name a starter, but whomever he is he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Francisco Mejia. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.