Baltimore Orioles: Never underestimate the importance of individual plays

Jordan Lyles was the Baltimore Orioles’ scheduled starter this afternoon in the rubber match of the weekend series with Tampa at Camden Yards. However when he came in this morning he had an apparent stomach virus, and was scratched as a result. Manager Brandon Hyde turned to reliever Austin Voth as a starter, in what ended up being a bullpen game. Voth’s line: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K.

Brandon Hyde said that the hope is that Lyles is good to make the start Tuesday against Washington. Whether that happens remains to be seen. But what we do know is that Lyles wasn’t healthy enough to make the start this afternoon.

Anthony Santander hit a solo homer in the last of the first to get the O’s on the board with a 1-0 lead. Cedric Mullins would smack an RBI-double in the third, and the Birds led 2-0. Tampa would score their lone run in the fourth on an RBI-double by Walls.

And the rest of the game is the Orioles’ bullpen, which held Tampa at bay. And that’s not easy to do. While this was an impromptu “bullpen game,” at times I do wonder if Brandon Hyde doesn’t over-use his bullpen. But whatever he did today, it worked. And the fact is that the bullpen’s the strength of the team.

However make no mistake that the biggest play of the game came early – in the second inning to be exact. With two outs and a runner at first base, Brujan hit a double to right field. It appeared that Tampa was going to tie the game on the play, with the runner (Phillips) being sent home…

…but Right Fielder Ryan McKenna relayed the ball to Roughned Odor at second, who threw to Catcher Adley Rutschman at home. Both throws being spot on, plus a great tag by Rutschman, combined to nail the runner at home plate, ending the inning.

It was a big play, and it energized the crowd. But when you look back and see that this ended up being a one-run game, it looms much larger. That’s why I never criticize managers for being a nag about details. Because again while that play was big enough in the moment, you never know when a play’s going to play a big role in the final. So in paying close attention to detail, you ensure that ALL plays look large, making it easier for you to come out on top when things get tough.

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