Things are going south quickly for the Baltimore Orioles. And when they go south…boy do they go south. Even ace John Means is affected. Means’ numbers look poor from last night. But he was semi-on his game. It was one small thing that sent things to disaster. Means’ line: 4.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R (4 earned), 0 BB, 7 K.
The strikeouts and walks are obviously the Means we know. Through three innings he was very good, and the Orioles were in the game. However in the fourth Franco reached on a fielding error by Jorge Mateo. It was just a routine ground ball that Mateo bobbled. No problem, right? Ground ball double-play gets you out of the inning…
…not against Tampa. They live for the small little opening in a game that they can find, and they jump through. Franco would steal second, and then Margot would send a ground rule RBI-double bouncing over the wall. If not for the error and the steal, no run would have scored. That’s what Tampa does.
Zunino’s two-run homer later in the inning would give Tampa a 3-0 lead. They’d also get a three-run homer by Cruz in the fifth, followed by an RBI-double by Lowe. To add insult to injury, Lowe would later score on an error by Ramon Urias. It was a routine infield pop up, and Urias just dropped it.
Cruz would smack a second homer, this of the two-run variety, in the last of the sixth. But the real story in this one were the errors. Again, Tampa exploits your biggest weaknesses, and they pounce on your mistakes. Even John Means suffered as a result.
Manager Brandon Hyde said after the game that he felt Means battled. And he wasn’t wrong:
I thought the first three innings, he was really good. I thought they battled him tough. A lot of foul balls, a lot of deep counts. He was making good pitches. They’re a scrappy team and he was at 60-ish pitches after three innings, putting up zeros. He had a tough time finishing guys. I’m sure when the game started, his thought were to stop this and to pick us up because he’s a super competitor and he’s a good starting pitcher and he’s going to be good. Just didn’t make pitches there in the fourth and fifth, and I don’t know if trying too much there, just not executing.Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports￼