Archive for the ‘ Game Recaps ’ Category

Baltimore Orioles: Missing the eye of the tiger?

The Baltimore Orioles were unable to continue their modest two-game winning streak this evening behind starter Tom Eshelman. Boston best him, and all who came in behind him around big time. Eshelman’s line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 9 R (5 earned), 3 BB, 3 K.

Boston took a 5-0 lead in the second and third on a sequence that included homers by Bradley and Devers. However the good news is that the Orioles battled back. Trey Mancini smacked an RBI-double in the last of the third which got the Orioles on the board and cut Boston’s lead to 5-1. Mancini would later score on Renato Nunez‘s three-run homer.

For at least awhile, it appeared that the Birds might not look back. Chris Davis would tie the score up at five later in that third inning with an RBI-single. But then the top of the fourth came about. Boston our eight runs on the board in total, effectively ending the competitive part of the game. When the smoke cleared after that fourth inning, the Orioles trailed 13-5.

Boston would like three more runs on in the fifth, and Anthony Santander and Boston’s Leon would add solo homers as well which ran the score (and the final) to 17-6. However something which occurred in that fifth inning showed one of the differences between Boston and the Orioles. The question is whether or not it’s something about which to be concerned.

Bogaerts hit what appeared to be a sac fly-RBI. However replays showed that Anthony Santander might have trapped the ball in center field. Boston questioned the call, and it was changed. Brandon Hyde tried to plead with the umpire that they couldn’t just huddle up and decide to change the call on the field / they had to review it. However the call was changed, and Hyde then had to burn a challenge, which he lost.

My personal opinion was that it was semi-inappropriate (with respect to the game’s unwritten codes) for Boston to question that with such a big lead. Never mind the fact that in reality it should have been Boston using a challenge. One inning later, the Orioles led off the inning with a HBP of Hernandez. However replays clearly showed that the ball hit the knob of the bat.

The Orioles of course couldn’t challenge that given the fact that they had already lost a challenge. However Hyde could have asked the umpires to look at the play on their own accord. Managers do that all the time, and it seems that more often than not the umpires agree to do it.

However again, it seems that the score dictated that one wouldn’t do that. Is it really worth it in a situation when the game’s already out of hand? Is that the look that teams want? Scrimping for base runners that in essence are meaningless given the score?

However this may well illustrate something. Boston flat out didn’t care about how they came across l, or what was appropriate given the score. They saw that base runner as a potential run. And they want to get all the runs they can, all other things be damned.

So…do the Orioles not have the eye of the tiger? Plenty of people tell me that, and they would probably look at this scenario as an illustration of their point. That same group would point at the fact that Boston seemed to come out of the gate ticked off tonight. And if anything, the fact that the Orioles tied the game ticked them off even worse. Never minding of course the fact that the O’s came back.

The series and the home stand conclude tomorrow afternoon at Camden Yards. Asher Wojchiekowski gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by former Oriole Andrew Cashner. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles take game one against the defending champs

The past couple of days have been perhaps the best stretch of the season to date for the Baltimore Orioles. They beat Washington by a large margin, and after an off day they did the same to Boston last night. John Means got the start, and he showed the defending champions why he was selected for the all-star team. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

The O’s took the lead in the last of the first, and never looked back. Anthony Santander‘s three-run homer gave the Birds a 3-0 lead. Boston tried to battle back in the second with a two-run shot by Travis. But it wasn’t their day.

The last of the second brought what initially appeared to be an inside-the-park home run by Richie Martin. However the official scorer ruled that the Boston fielder bobbling the ball was an error. So it was ruled a triple and an error, however the point is still the same. Martin hustled around the bases, and that speed netted the O’s a run – homer or error withstanding.

And the Orioles never really looked back, and they kept adding onto the score. Keon Broxton‘s two-run homer in the fourth added to the Orioles’ lead at 6-2. One inning later Stevie Wilkerson would add a sac-fly RBI, and Richie Martin an RBI-ground our. And the rout was on.

The Orioles would tack on three more runs in the later innings, running the final to 11-2. I can’t stress enough that this was one game. And games like these whereby the score got out of hand are always anomalies in a sense.

However it’s a good win against a quality team for sure . And one on which the Orioles can and will certainly hang their hat. But you’re only as good as your next day’s starter. So in other words, you have to move onto the next game. Boston most certainly will, and hopefully the Orioles can as well.

The series continues tonight at Camden Yards. Tom Eshelman gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Rick Porcello. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles turn the tables on Washington

The Baltimore Orioles were successfully able to turn the tables on their Beltway rival Washington last night. Washington took game one in convincing fashion by adding on run after run at the end, and the Orioles followed suit last night. Aaron Brooks serves as the “opener” last night, and was fairly successful. Brooks’ line: 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

With Washington leading 1-0, Trey Mancini evened the score in the last of the fourth with a solo home run. Now with that said, Washington would re-take the lead in the fifth with an RBI-double with Eaton. However the Orioles weren’t going to be denied on this night. Not after sitting out a 90-minute rain delay to start the game!

Anthony Santander‘s seventh inning RBI-single tied the game back up at two. Later in the inning it was none other than Chris Davis, who gave the Orioles the lead for good. His RBI-single put the Birds up 3-2. And as I said, they were up for good. The rest is just gravy.

Following a Ruiz sac fly-RBI, Trey Mancini smacked his second homer of the game in the eighth. This of the two-run variety, which gave the Birds a 6-2 lead. Santander would add a sac fly-RBI later in the inning, Wilkerson an RBI-double, and Ruiz an RBI-single.

When the smoke cleared the O’s had won the game 9-2. Again, this was a mirror image of last night’s game. The Orioles got the lead, and just added on. Washington’s big weakness this season has been their bullpen, and the O’s took full advantage at the end.

The win snaps a four-game losing streak for the O’s, and evens the Battle of the Beltways at one game a piece. That’s obviously a hollow victory in a sense, as the only people who will pay close attention to that are fans. However local bragging rights are a thing for sure. You always want to represent well in the neighborhood.

Baltimore Orioles fall to Washington

Asher Wojciechowski probably pitched a better game than the numbers indicate for the Baltimore Orioles last night. In total, he probably put the O’s in a spot to win the game. And that’s all you can ask of a starter. Wojciechowski’s line: 5.1 IP, 6 ah, 3 R, 0 BB, 7 K.

Wojciechowski gave up a solo homer to Adams in the second inning, however the O’s immediately tied the game back up. Hanser Alberto smacked a solo homer in the last of the second, which tied things up at one. However the Orioles never got any closer than that. Washington took the lead back in the third on an RBI-double by Rendon.

Wojciechowski gave up a solo homer to Soto in the sixth. Later in the inning the Orioles also balked in a fourth run, giving Washington a 4-2 lead. And as the game wore on, Washington added on. They never really stopped scoring, taking game one of this truncates two-game set by the score of 8-1.

The real issue in this game wasn’t the starter (Wojchiekowski). It was the bullpen and the offense. Far too often the Orioles’ bullpen has allowed teams to add on run after run in the later innings. We saw it over the weekend against Tampa, and we saw it last night.

Now that might in fact be irrelevant if you can’t score runs, which the Orioles were unable to do last night (save for the Alberto homer early in the game). However your pitching as to put you in a spot to be able to do that. If the opponent is consistently adding on runs at will, there isn’t much the offense is going to be able to do.

Having said that, this is all part of the rebuilding process. You have to go through stretches like this, and hope that you come out better for it on the other end. Teams such as Houston and the Chicago Cubs certainly did. And if you look at the Orioles’ front office and coaching staff, you see several pieces from both of those organizations.

The series with Washington concludes tonight at Camden Yards. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Erick Fedde. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander stays in the bigs

The Baltimore Orioles are keeping outfielder Anthony Santander for now. You might remember that Santander was called up to the big leagues in June when DJ Stewart went to the IL. Call-ups as such can be precarious, because often the player is aware up front that the odds of him returning to the minors when the other player returns.

However Santander played his behind off. He’s hitting .273 with four home runs and 16 RBI. He’s also fielding at a 1.000 clip. Santander’s been an asset, and he’s produced very well for the Orioles over the course of time.

Stewart, who was also playing well at the time of his injury, came off the IL today. He was immediately optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, meaning that Santander will remain with the Orioles. That’s a good problem to have – having to pick between two good players. Certainly if there comes a point where the Orioles need to switch the two, they can do so. However for now, Santander remains in the big leagues.

Baltimore Orioles: Hanser Alberto keeps Birds from the wrong side of history

The Baltimore Orioles almost made history this afternoon against Tampa at Camden Yards. But not the right type of history. They were almost on it’s wrong side, as Tampa took a combined perfect game into the ninth inning. There have been combined no-hitters (including one in Oriole history), but never a combined perfect game.

And the sad thing is that the Orioles didn’t pitch poorly per se in this series finale against Tampa. Tom Eschelman was called up from the minors to make the start, and with a couple of exceptions he kept a lineup that scored 29 runs against the Orioles over three games at bay. Eschelman’s line: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 7 K.

Tampa would take a 1-0 lead in the second on a sac fly-RBI by Wendell. Eschelman would also surrender a solo homer to Meadows in the third, and a two-run homer to Brosseau in the sixth.

But the main story of the game was the almost perfect game. Ryne Stanek served as Tampa’s opener, and pitched two perfect innings. He then exited, and Ryan Yarbrough took over. And he almost went the distance. I find it interesting that there had never been a combined perfect game. It needless to say, the final innings and outs were packed full of drama.

Luckily for the Orioles, the drama surrounding the perfect game ended early in the last of the ninth. Hanser Alberto stroked a base hit on the first pitch of the inning, breaking up the perfecto. Perhaps the most unlikely part of the entire thing was that Alberto got his base hit against the shift. Go figure!

But it didn’t end there. The Orioles attempted to rally. Anthony Santander‘s RBI-single cut the lead to 4-1. The Birds would end up with the tying run at the plate – this in a game where they almost got perfecto’d. But Mancini struck out, and the game ended in a 4-1 Tampa victory.

It’s also important to note; the Orioles easily could have thrown down a bunt to attempt to break up the perfect game. However that works against one of the biggest unwritten codes in baseball. Nobody tried to bunt, nobody tried to lean into a pitch, and nobody attempted to do anything on the shady side. While many fans will skoff at this and say that it’s unimportant in a losing effort, it speaks to the Orioles’ sense of honor. So there’s that.

Baltimore Orioles: Andrew Cashner traded before O’s fall

The Baltimore Orioles completed game one of the doubleheader yesterday afternoon, and then GM Mike Elias got to work. He opted to trade starter Andrew Cashner to the Boston Red Sox. In exchange the O’s got two 17-year old prospects, who were assigned to the Dominican Summer League. The Orioles also sent cash to Boston as part of the deal.

Personally I thought they could have gotten more. Specifically, two guys who had perhaps gotten past puberty. However if this was the best deal they could get it was the best deal they could get. Cashner’s contract was up, and at least they got something for him. The idea of trading him was in fact a good one. Trust the process.

That leaves John Means as the lone bona fide starter on the roster. And for the first time in his career last night, Means gave up three home runs. Means didn’t pitch a poor outing – heck, he didn’t even really throw three bad pitches. He threw three pitches that Tampa correctly anticipated as fastballs, and over the fence they went. Means’ line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 3 K.

Tampa’s Brosseau and Diaz smacked a two-run homer and a solo shot in the second and fourth respectively, giving Tampa a 3-0 lead. However Stevie Wilkerson continued his prowess at the plate following his game one heroics. His two-RBI single in the last of the fourth cut the lead to 3-2. For the time being, the O’s were competitive in the game.

Tampa would pop back into the driver’s seat in the sixth with Garcia’s RBI-single and Lowe’s two-run homer. Hanser Alberto would add a solo homer in the last of the seventh, and Jonathan Villar an RBI-single in the last of the ninth. But in between Oriole pitching kind of let things get away. When the smoke cleared, the Birds had fallen 12-4.

Most doubleheader’s end up being split, so the fact that the Orioles were able to take the first game at least made it a good day for them. However the story of the day was Cashner being traded. As I said, I felt they could have gotten something more for him. But at least they got something.

One pressing issue however is that Cashner was to start today’s game. The Birds now have to scramble to figure out who’s going to be pitching. I suspect they have a plan, but it would have certainly been easier to have Cashner make the start.

The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. The O’s are yet to name a starter, and Tampa will start Ryne Stanek. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Stevie Wilkerson saves the day in Birds’ win

The Baltimore Orioles found themselves in somewhat of a precarious position this afternoon in game one of a day/night doubleheader. They had used too much of the bullpen the night before, ultimately using Stevie Wilkerson to pitch the ninth. So this afternoon they turned to Aaron Brooks in the role of an opener. Brooks’ line: 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.

The Orioles claimed Brooks earlier this season off of waivers from Oakland. This was his Oriole debut. He was good in that role, however again the fact that they used an opener might have made things all the more difficult for tonight’s game. But one game at a time, I suppose.

Zunino smacked a solo homer for Tampa in the third inning. However aside from that, solid pitching on both sides kept both teams off the scoreboard. And for an Orioles’ staff which gave up 16 runs last night against a Tampa team who seemingly wanted blood, that’s quite a feat.

However Oriole pitching wasn’t being rewarded for that feat. And for once, Tampa seemed content winning the game 1-0. However eventually, Oriole bats decided to have other ideas.

Stevie Wilkerson, who of course had completed last night’s game on the mound, stepped to the plate in the seventh with one on and one out. He sent a deep fly ball to center towards the bullpens. The question was going to be whether or not it had enough to get out. Tampa’s center fielder Kiermaier had made many a great play against the Orioles. He seemed to be tracking the ball, thinking he had a shot at it.

But it wasn’t to be for once, as the ball cleared the wall just out of Kiermaier’s reach. Wilkerson’s two-run homer put the O’s in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 lead. The O’s were able to keep Tampa off the board for the remainder of the game, and closed out a 2-1 victory.

That’s a huge win for a team who lost 16-4 last night. And Lord knows it wasn’t easy. While the Wilkerson homer was the key, the biggest point of the game was probably the top of the seventh when Richard Bleier came in with two on and nobody out. Tampa was looking to extend their lead, which at that point was 1-0. Bleier retired the side and didn’t let a run cross. Make no mistake that the O’s got confidence off of that moment.

The series continues this evening in the second game of the doubleheader at Camden Yards. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Charlie Morton. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: What does Tampa do that the O’s can’t match?

Last night wasn’t exactly the start to the second half that the Baltimore Orioles wanted. Starter Dylan Bundy got lit up from the beginning. Bundy’s line: 1.0 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

Bundy surrendered a solo homer to Pham (second hitter of the game), and Tampa never looked back. And they piled on the Orioles big time. To the tune of 16 runs.

Renato Nunez smacked a solo homer in the fourth, and an RBI-double in the ninth. However even the fourth inning home runners in essence garbage time. At the end of the day, the Birds fell 16-5 in the second half opened.

There’s something I just wrote above however which shows one of the differences between Tampa and the Orioles. I mentioned that even Nunez’s homer in the fourth inning (which cut the Tampa lead to 10-2) came in garbage time. I say that as a matter of fact, given how the game was ebbing and flowing. When you cut the deficit to eight runs in only the fourth inning the game is in effect over. Sure it’s fashionable to say that you can come back and so forth, but situations where that happens are the exception to the rule.

But that isn’t how Tampa looks at it. They look at every pitch as an opportunity to score another run. If anything, they go into overdrive in situations like this – whether they’re up or down big. They seemingly have a chip on their shoulder wanting to prove to the world that they aren’t like other teams. When other teams go into autopilot, Tampa’s still out there fighting the good fight.

And when I say autopilot, I’m not necessarily talking about games in a blowout situation. When most teams smack base hits, the hitter drops the bat and almost casually runs to first base, knowing that he isn’t going to be thrown out. Basically he’s guaranteed the base. The Orioles do it, as do all teams. Why risk injury on the base paths when as so said you’re all but guaranteed the bag?

That isn’t how Tampa does things. Their hitters sprint out of the batter’s box with reckless abandon. Many times, that type of fervor leads to a the runner taking a second base. Sometimes the pressure of the speed itself causes an error in the outfield, or sometimes the sheer speed of the runners gets them to second.

That sounds like a small thing. And it also sounds like a conviction of how the Orioles do things. Well, it is a small thing. But Tampa, dating back to when they were bad and the Orioles were good, is a small wonder type of team. There’s no detail to small in a game. And a small thing turns into big things. Someone hustling out of the box and getting to second (on what would have been a run-of-the-mill base hit) puts them in scoring position. That means another base hit (with another runner hustling out of the box and potentially getting into scoring position) scores that runner.

And it’s not a conviction of the Orioles – per se. all teams simply take the bases they’re all but guaranteed. Admittedly, Tampa runners sometimes look ridiculous sprinting around the bases when in fact they know they aren’t going to be thrown out. But end of the day, they don’t care. They only care about one thing: winning.

The teams of course will play a day/night doubleheader at the yard today. Both teams will be able to bring up a 26th man on the roster for game two. And in fact, Tampa’s fervor last night will adversely affect the Orioles today, as their now tired bullpen will have to work two games. As I said yesterday, fans will need two separate tickets for both the afternoon game and the nightcap.

So the series will continue this afternoon before this evening at Camden Yards. Aaron Brooks gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Brendan McKay. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles drop first half finale in Toronto

The Baltimore Orioles were unable to complete the sweet in Toronto this afternoon after having won the first two games of the series. The Orioles started Asher Wojciechowski In hopes of seeing what they had in him going forward into the second half. Unfortunately for all involved, Wojchiekowski never really got it going. Wojchiekowski’s line: 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K.

Wojchiekowski gave up a two-run homer in the first inning to Gurriel, which gave Toronto a 2-0 lead. Toronto also got an RBI-double from Jansen in the fourth, and another to Tellez in the sixth. Needless to say, it wasn’t the Orioles’ day from the outset.

Later in that sixth inning Toronto would get an RBI-single from Hernandez to extend their lead to 6-0. The Orioles would net a token run in the seventh on Chance Sisco‘s solo homer, leading the final score to 6-1. Certainly the O’s hoped to finish off the first half in a more positive manner, however they went 5-4 in the last three series’. As many struggles as this team had in the first half, that’s impressive.

There are some who will say that the Orioles losing today shows no organizational tenacity. In essence, they were happy taking two-of-three. This of course as opposed to sweeping the series.

First off, again keep in mind that this season was never about winning now. Sure if by some miracle that had happened the Orioles would have taken it. But the organization did a good job of preparing the fanbase for what this season was going to be.

Secondly, taking two-of-three in most series’ will put you in playoff position. Now that isn’t going to happen this year, but in general if you win two-of-three you’re going to be doing fine. Players and coaches will always say they wish they could have swept the series, but privately they’ll take the series win.

The team will now disperse for the annual “midsummer vacation.” John Means of course will be off to Cleveland for the All-Star game. Everyone else will go wherever they’re going. As for me…The Delmarva Shore beckons for a few days!

%d bloggers like this: