Baltimore Orioles: Phantom hit-by-a-pitch

The Baltimore Orioles are finding out that when a losing streak reaches into the teens, it finds ways to taunt you. Matt Harvey pitched well tonight, and without a doubt put the O’s in a spot to win. They also fought tooth and nail against Atlanta to win this game, but to no ends. Because these losing streaks find ways to taunt you. Harvey’s line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K.

Ryan Mountcastle’s solo homer in the first inning gave the O’s the lead early on. Mountcastle picked up where he left off when he went into concussion protocol. And that‘s a good sign for the future.

But it was in the third inning that the O’s began to see the relentlessness of the losing streak. With a runner already on, Freeman was hit by a Matt Harvey pitch. He gets first base, right? Pretty simple…but is it?

The rules specifically state that if they’re hitter doesn’t attempt to get out of the way of the pitch, the umpire can neglect to award him first base. (It’s rare, but I’ve actually seen it called.) Not only did Freeman not try to get out of the way, but he appeared to lean into the pitch. Freeman would later score on Swanson’s two-RBI double, and Atlanta led 2-1.

Is this petty? Tough to say. That very well could have been called, and Freeman prevented from taking first base. But those are the things that happen when you’ve lost 16 straight games. As I said, the losing streak begins to taunt you.

Atlanta would extend their lead in the fourth with a solo homer by Pederson. But the Birds would come back in the last of the fourth and tie it up at three. They got back-to-back homers from Anthony Santander and Ramon Urias.

But Atlanta would take the lead right back in the top of the fifth on Riley’s solo homer. They’d also get an insurance run in the ninth, and for their sake it’s a good thing they did. Because Santander smacked his second solo homer of the game, cutting the final score to 5-4.

But consider the fact that had that Freeman HBO been called as it could have been, the game’s at best a tie. The O’s had other opportunities for sure, but that’s a tough pill to swallow. But again, when losing streaks get out of hand, they begin to taunt you.

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Touki Toussaint. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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