In four innings of work, Keegan Akin threw one bad pitch for the Baltimore Orioles. However you can probably excuse that in the sense that it was tough for both teams to know where the strike zone was. Home plate umpire Greg Gibson kept everyone on their toes with what appeared to be a revolving strike zone. Amin’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 2 K.
Anthony Santander got the Birds on the board before Akin even took the mound. He reached first on a base hit, and went to second on a throwing error, the same error which allowed an Oriole run to score. However the Birds also then had two runners in scoring position with one down. And that was the only run they netted.
Akin seemed to get squeezed immediately. He walked a batter following a base hit in the last of the first, this after appearing to throw strike three. That seemed to get to him, and he uncorked a wild pitch – allowing the runners to advance. They would later score on Martinez’s three-run homer.
As the title suggests, when you’re in the midst of a losing streak, things go the other way. The Birds could have had a big first inning. Instead they let Boston off the hook. And Akin couldn’t adjust to the strike zone, although as we would later find out it was going to be tough for any Oriole pitcher to adjust.
Boston would also put three across in the sixth. Oriole pitching issued three walks in the inning, one of which walked in a run. All three had pitches in the sequence which should have been a called strike three. But they were called balls. Again, when things aren’t going well, borderline calls usually go against you.
Jorge Mateo’s seventh inning RBI-single got the O’s to within 6-2, but that was about it. They fell into an 11-game losing streak, not aided by the strike zone today. However you also need to adjust to the strike zone. Now I’ll grant you that it seemed to move around. However the O’s also tried to nibble on just about every corner of the plate for the entire game. That didn’t seem to work.
Manager Brandon Hyde addressed adjusting to the zone indirectly while giving kudos to Boston:
I just see how much better we have to get in our strike zone discipline. You watch them (and) compared to us, they’re hitters and they’re more experienced. They have a bunch of guys who have been in the postseason and have won a lot of games. But there’s just a level of understanding the strike zone and understanding what the pitcher is trying to do and not chase, not let pitchers off the hook. They got squeezed, there’s no doubt about it, but they weren’t swinging on balls on the edges and were continuing to get them. And we just have a tough time having innings like that because we are in swing mode and good pitchers can pitch to that.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports
The O’s now head to Tampa for the first of four games at Tropicana Field. Matt Harvey gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa is yet to announce a starter. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.