The Tampa Rays were expecting Spencer Watkins to be the most recent Baltimore Orioles’ pitcher to experience the oddities which generally occur when these two teams meet. Oriole pitchers generally fall short on broken bat singles and softly hit balls. But Watkins ensured that didn’t happen, but pitching to a virtuoso performance at Tropicana Field. Watkins’ line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K.
Watkins dominated Tampa hitters all game long. And you could tell that Tampa was kind of waiting and expecting something odd to happen. Because when these teams get together oddities do occur. And they usually work in Tampa’s favor. It just never happened tonight.
Oriole bats also did their part. The Birds got on the board right away with an RBI-double by Ryan Mountcastle. Anthony Santander would add a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, and the O’s were off.
That 2-0 lead held up until the sixth inning. Or I should say the O’s picked the sixth inning to get back on the board. And it was a big inning in a sense – exactly what you want while hitting.
Pat Valaika would double the lead (in the sixth) with a two-RBI double. Before the inning ended the O’s also got RBI-doubles from Kelvin Gutierrez and Austin Hays. The lone run surrendered by Watkins was an RBI-double in the bottom of that 6th inning by Arozarena.
While the runs on the board are probably more important, the performance put on by Spencer Watkins tonight was a great one. Mind you, Watkins was a career minor leaguer after being drafted in the 30th round by the Detroit Tigers in 2014. However his stuff has been superior across the board.
The series continues tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. The Orioles have announced that John Means will return to the Big Apple as a fan of the team tomorrow night, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Shane McLanahann. Game time is set for just after 7:00 PM.