Baltimore Orioles can’t recover after tough first inning in Tampa finale

The tale of this afternoon’s Baltimore Orioles series finale in Tampa was the first inning. Starter Josh Rogers gave up five runs in the inning, and six total. And that was the game. Rogers line: 1.1 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 0 K.

Cron got the scoring started with an RBI-double in that first inning. He would later score on an RBI-single by Adames, who would ultimately score on Lowe’s three-run home run. One inning later Smith stole home plate in a double-steal, and Tampa took a 6-0 lead. A run that was charged to Rogers.

Following Rogers’ departure things stablized just a bit for a few innings. Gomez would smack a solo homer in the sixth inning to run things to 7-0, before the O’s put a few on the board as well. Jace Peterson‘s two-RBI triple cut the lead to 7-2, and the O’s would garner a third run on Caleb Joseph‘s sac fly-RBI. Pham would double home one additional run in the eighth, and the Orioles were swept out of Tampa with an 8-2 loss.

After the game Buck Showalter announced that Josh Rogers would be shut down for the remainder of the season. Rogers on his season being done (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Yeah, it’s pretty unfortunate because I’ve had too pretty OK outings starting my career off and trying to build off those. This will sink in and it’ll be a long offseason thinking about this one, but just taking away the positives of the experience of being here so far. It’s a learning experience and it’s a great opportunity here and I’m excited about it.

I was supposed to be in Trenton in Double-A. I was going to be the fifth starter in Trenton and I just kind of got lucky. It kind of worked out. I was going to be in the bullpen in Triple-A and we had a guy go up and I made a start and did well and just kind of ran with it.

I pitched well and I’ve always been a starter and always wanted to be a starter. I was fortunate enough to get that opportunity with the Yankees and to have a couple months with them and then have the opportunities here it was really exciting. If this was my last one, I’ll work hard this offseason and I’ll come into spring ready to go.

Withstanding this, his final appearance of the season, Rogers is someone that the Orioles definitely want to continue looking at into next year. I would expect him to get a good look in spring training. Rogers obviously wants to start, however I would remind him to keep in mind once spring games start that when you pitch is irrelevant. The idea is to get your work in. And he will.

The Orioles looked every bit of a team that was playing out a string on the season this weekend. While Tampa’s still mathematically alive for the post season, the odds aren’t in their favor. But they played like there was no tomorrow. They refused to relent on pressure in games, whether it was double-steals, or their manager challenging calls to net them a run when they’re up ten.

You can talk about how that doesn’t bode well for the Orioles if you would like. But keep in mind that the team that’s on the field now probably isn’t going to be the team on the field on Opening Day next year. Many of these guys still have the deer in the headlights look going. Give them a chance.

Baltimore Orioles: Is a message being sent on Adam Jones

Adam Jones hasn’t been in the Baltimore Orioles’ lineup for the first two games of this weekend’s series in Tampa. The Birds fell Friday night, and again of course tonight. Would Jones’ presence in the lineup made a difference? Probably not. Jones isn’t expected to be in the lineup for tomorrow’s finale either, although Buck Showalter said he’d play again this month.

Like Showalter, Jones is in the final month of his contract. My personal view is that the Orioles need Jones moving forward, both as a veteran presence but also as a team leader/captain. GM Dan Duquette has said that the Orioles’ payroll is going to be much lower going into next year. Many read that to mean Jones’ time in Baltimore is all but done. But is it possible that Buck Showalter is using this series as a manner by which to signal Duquette and upper management that Jones’ presence on the roster behooves the franchise?

David Hess got the start in tonight’s game, and while his numbers indicate a struggle he was ultimately failed by outside forces. Hess’ line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 R (2 earned), 0 BB, 3 K. Hess allowed four runs in the first inning. One of those came on a wild pitch, but ultimately runners were only on base due to throwing errors. Tampa would also get a fifth run in the second on a squeeze bunt by Wendle.

The O’s battled back starting in the third. And they battled back several times, but Tampa never seemed to allow it. Villar’s RBI-single in the third cut the lead to 5-1. One inning later Renato Nunez smacked a two-run homer, and the O’s were within two at 5-3.

As I said, Tampa just kept adding on. After two six inning runs, the O’s got back to within 7-5 in the seventh on Villar’s two-RBI single. But Tampa just wasn’t in the mood to be losing on this night, and they took the game 10-5. In fairness to the O’s, nary one break seemed to go their way in this game. Tampa hitters got the benefit of balls hitting the catwalk, errors getting them on base, the ball slipping out of David Hess’ hand for a wild pitch – among other things. I suppose that good things happen to you when you play a rebuilding team.

However I can’t shake the thought that Adam Jones was kept out of the lineup to send a message. In essence, this is what the team would look like without Adam Jones. Would a manager like Showalter pull a stunt like that? Tough to say, because Buck’s all about winning. But if he thought it might help the organization moving forward…anything’s possible.

Officially, the word is that Showalter wants to get a look at some other guys (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

It’s a great opportunity for some guys to get some big league experience. It’s good to see some guys get big league experience, get into some games, get into some action. I’ve shown what I can do, so it’s good to, if you’re going to move forward with the new future, so right now is no time like the present to get them some at-bats.

For whatever that’s worth.

The series in Tampa concludes tomorrow afternoon at Tropicana Field. Josh Rogers gets the start for the Orioles, and at this point Tampa hasn’t named an opposing starter. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: In this game there are unwritten codes

The Baltimore Orioles lost their 100th game of the season last night in Tampa behind Dylan Bundy‘s latest lackluster starting outing. The story of the game and the loss? Walks. But there was seemingly a lot more than 100 losses to discuss. Bundy’s line: 4.0 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 5 BB, 3 K.

Bundy issued a two-out walk following a single in the second, and then proceeded to give up a three-run homer to Ciuffo. He also gave up two walks an inning later with two outs, and then gave up a second three-run homer to Kiermaier. That said, the O’s did appear to get out of the inning when they challenged what would have been the third out at first base. However the call on the field was upheld and the runner ruled safe – despite what the replays appeared to show.

Tampa would also get a grand slam after a couple of walks from Choi in the sixth inning. That wasn’t off of Bundy, but again the walks were the key. Nothing good ever happens after a walk. The lone Orioles’ runs of the game came on a two-run homer by Joey Rickard in the the top of the sixth.

Tampa led the Orioles 12-2 in the seventh inning. That game was over for all intents and purposes – right? Apparently not in Tampa’s mind. With a runner at third base, Ciuffo sent a foul pop down the left field line towards the Orioles’ bullpen. Left fielder John Andreoli hustled over and caught the ball. (Quite frankly, it was a long run for Andreoli and a great hustle – especially in a game that was basically over.) The runner from third tagged up and scored.

Anyone who’s read me knows that I do stand by baseball’s unwritten codes. You don’t manufacture a run when you’re up big (five runs plus) in the later innings (seventh inning or later). Personally I felt that was a run that didn’t need to cross the plate. I obviously don’t know if that directive came from the bench or if the runner tagged up on his own, however when you’re up by ten at that stage of the game it’s fairly poor form to tag up on a play like that.

Later in the inning Tampa netted their 14th run in what I would term similarly obtuse fashion. Smith appeared to ground out to first base with a runner at third to end the inning. (Incidentally, that runner was only at third base because he tagged up on the aforementioned sac fly-RBI when they were up ten.) However Tampa manager Kevin Cash decided to challenge the call. Replays appeared to show that at worst the ball and the runner tied in getting to first – which in theory would mean the runner was safe.

The call was overturned, giving Tampa their 14th run in a 14-2 game. Let’s be frank; there’s no old school unwritten rule about challenges in baseball because the instant replay system is only a few years old. But for the same reason you don’t tag up and score on a soft pop up when you’re up by ten, it’s probably pretty poor form to challenge a play to net yourself a 14th run – when you’re up by 11.

If the score’s 13-10 or something along those lines, I definitely would be challenging a close call like that. You have to play to the scoreboard, and quite frankly that’s something that Cash should have let go. And to the crowd out there who says that you never take your foot off the gas, or you never know if the opponent is going to put up eight or nine runs in an inning, or it’s not over until it’s over so you keep scoring, ask yourselves…would Buck Showalter ever pull stunts like that?

Piling on runs in that manner is designed to do one thing: embarrass the opponent. Or remove Buck from the equation all together; insert the name of any well-respected manager in baseball history. I’m talking the LaRussa’s, Torre’s, Francona’s, Weaver’s, etc. of the world. If a batter gets a base hit in a blowout and a run scores, that’s one thing. But I don’t see any of those managers, or Buck Showalter, doing something like that designed to run up the score.

One might say if you don’t want to be embarrassed, play better. Okay, point taken. But we all know that games like these happen. Both to good and bad teams. The Orioles beat Tampa 17-1 earlier in the season. But once it was evident that the game was out of hand, the Orioles didn’t try to manufacture runs. They may have scored on a base hit or something along those lines. But no tagging up, stealing, etc. And certainly no challenging a call to net one additional run.

To add injury to insult, tonight’s scheduled starter David Hess was apparently throwing a football around the outfield before the game, and got clocked in the face. The injury isn’t serious per se, but Hess was seen jokingly wearing an LSU football helmet on the bench during the game. Having said that, Hess’ status as tonight’s starter is now in question as a result. Talk about a team that can’t catch a break.

The series continues tonight at Tropicana Field. The aforementioned Davis Hess is currently scheduled to get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Diego Castillo. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Status of Buck Showalter needs to be addressed

The white elephant in the room regarding the Baltimore Orioles is manager Buck Showalter. Or one of them, at least. Everyone knows he’s now in the final month of his contract. As tough as this season’s been, everyone also knows his track record in Baltimore and what he’s meant to the franchise.

I would argue that what he could mean for the franchise in the future should also be evident. If you’re asking whether or not I think Buck Showalter should be the manager moving forward, the answer is yes. Or at the very least I think it should be his job if he wants it. And obviously it goes without saying that my personal view is that the Orioles should offer him a legitimate contract that he would accept if in fact he wants to continue managing. Basically, the decision should be his.

And here’s another opinion of mine; I suspect that there are in fact negotiations going on behind the scenes. Because I do believe that if there weren’t, it would be announced that Buck wasn’t going to be back. However I do believe that something needs to be said, addressed, etc. on this. And soon.

The players on the roster right now do have a right to know in which direction the organization is looking to go. That goes without saying. I do feel that changes in some form are coming, whether that’s Showalter, Dan Duquette, both, or perhaps someone else.

However I also believe that some sort of announcement should be made for another reason…FOR THE FANSIf the organization wants to go in a different direction from Showalter, the fans are going to want to know. Not just for the sake of the direction of the organization, but for the immediate interim as well.

Buck Showalter’s meant a lot to this city since his arrival in 2010. He jumped right in as manager, and immediately engrossed himself in the organization and the city. He spent two weeks prior to being hired scouting the farm system to know what he had to work with. He immediately formed bonds with local charities, and began almost immediately in restoring pride to the organization. It was quite a spectacle…

…and a funny thing happened. They started winning. Not right away, but within two years. That all of course recently came to a crashing halt. However again if Buck’s not going to be back, I think that the Angelos family owes it to the fans to give them an opportunity to show their appreciation to Buck Showalter and his family. That means the possibility of a packed Camden Yards on the final weekend among other things.

Nobody does nostalgia like the Orioles. We saw it when they closed Memorial Stadium, we saw it during the Ripken streak, and we saw it again for the 60th anniversary of the team coming here. Again if Showalter won’t be back, I suspect that the fans would like to see a similar display. However to be clear, my personal opinion is that he should be offered the chance to stay.

The Orioles travel to Tampa tonight to open up a three-game set. Dylan Bundy gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Blake Snell. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Baltimore Orioles drop Seattle finale

With how this season’s gone the Baltimore Orioles are counting their blessings that they won a game in Seattle at all. They did have a shot at taking the series last night, but dropped the finale in Seattle as Andrew Cashner had a tough time getting himself going. Cashner’s line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 0 K.

The O’s trailed starting in the third inning, as Haniger deposited a Cashner pitch into the center field grandstand to give Seattle a 1-0 lead. However they did claim the lead for awhile. The Birds were able to tie it in the fifth on an E3, which goes as an unearned run. Adam Jones would later reach on an E6, which yielded another run, and the O’s took a 2-1 lead.

Both runs that the Orioles scored in the game were unearned. The scary thing is that the Orioles have struggled over the years at Safeco Field. When I say that I mean the core of Jones (who’s actually played very well in Seattle individually), Davis, Machado, Hardy, et al. That group of Orioles at least has struggled in Seattle. This is a totally new group of Orioles. Granted Jones is still here, but now you have the Joseph’s, Nunez’s, Mullins’, et al of the world. Luckily for them, the Birds only come to Seattle once a year.

Cashner was chased after giving the lead right back in the last of the fifth. Home runs by Cruz and Span ended his night, and ended the Orioles’ claim to the game overall. That gave Seattle a 3-2 lead, which was extended to 4-2 two innings later on Span’s softly-hit bloop RBI-single. They would also add a sac bunt-RBI in the seventh to run the final to 5-2.

Both Cashner and Alex Cobb have had really tough years, following their signings with the Orioles. Analysts far and wide praised the Birds for those signings, including myself. That of course was back in spring training before anyone knew what a donnybrook of a down turn this season was going to become.

Why bring that up now? Because the commonality between the two is that neither had much of a spring training with the Orioles. Cashner had a couple of appearances towards the latter half, but Cobb did not. They, along with countless other players signed very late – call them victims of circumstance if you will. And that’s something we’ll discuss in the off season. Because while the rebuild will certainly continue into next year and beyond, my personal opinion is that the O’s have no choice but to improve year-over-year.

Both Cashner and Cobb have under performed to their career numbers. And again, the commonality is that they signed late and didn’t have a full spring in camp. That will obviously not be the case going into next season. Which by default, in theory should mean that the team’s record should be better next season.

The Orioles now head to Tampa, but have an off day today. It’s one of three off days this month, meaning that they have two left in the season. And it works out nicely for me, because it allows me to catch the NFL season opener tonight, and the season premier of Monday Night Football next Monday!

Baltimore Orioles: Big seventh inning lifts Birds in Seattle

We hear teams like the Baltimore Orioles say all the time that you want to stay out of the big inning. That’s very true – when you’re in the field, that is. When you’re at bat, you certainly want a big inning. And last night Alex Cobb was the beneficiary of a big inning that the Orioles manufactured, on their way to a 5-3 victory in Seattle. Cobb’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K.

Cobb gave up a solo homer to Cano in the first inning. Other than that he pitched out of everything into which he got himself. And there weren’t many situations of note, I might add. All he needed was some run support. And he got it in the top of the seventh.

The Birds started off by tying the game on a solo homer by Renato NunezJonathan Villar‘s RBI-single later in the inning would give the Birds a 2-1 lead. Joey Rickard would add a sac fly-RBI, and Trey Mancini‘s RBI-double capped off the inning. When the smoke had cleared, the Orioles led 4-1.

I’m not sure what qualifies as a “big inning,” but four runs is decent enough. And it’s also something that’s alluded the Orioles for much of the season. Not only did it pick up their starter, but the fact that it occurred in the seventh limited the amount of time that Seattle had to come back.

They did net two runs on a force out and throwing error in the last of the eighth, which made things interesting to say the least. However Chris Davis added an RBI-single which acted as an insurance run in the ninth. Seattle went quietly in the last of the ninth to close out the Orioles’ 5-3 victory.

This was a good win for a young team to grind out. It’s unclear whether or not some semblance of this group is going to be the lineup into the distant future. Heck, it’s unclear if this group is going to be the lineup going into spring training next year. But they showed some grit in battling in this game the way that they did.

They also showed some spark in that seventh inning in terms of putting some runs on the board. Alex Cobb wasn’t perfect, but he put his team in a spot to win. And finally he was rewarded. For what it’s worth, with this victory the Orioles have officially surpassed the 1962 Mets’ win total. In other words, they won’t challenge for the worst record ever over a 162-game schedule.

The O’s will attempt to take the series from Seattle this evening in the finale at Safeco Field. Andrew Cashner gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Mike Leake. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles, Josh Rogers fall in pitcher’s duel to Seattle

In his second career big league start, Josh Rogers turned in another decent performance for the Baltimore Orioles: Rogers’ line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K. However Rogers fell victim to what amounts to an age-old problem for Orioles’ starters this year. He didn’t get the run support he needed to win.

When you give up two runs, you’ve done your job. You’ve put your team in a position to win. The issue is that your team only netted one run for you. That makes it tough. And as has been documented here all season and as I just said above, Orioles’ starters have dealt with this all season. It seems that either the pitching shows up and the bats are quiet, or the inverse. It’s been tough to see it all come together at once.

Jonathan Villar gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the fourth with a solo home run which he bent around the right field foul pole. Seattle would tie the game in the bottom of the inning on Healy’s RBI-single. However we also saw a bright spot for the future on that play. Cedric Mullins relayed the ball back into the infield, and Healy was thrown out trying to extend that single into a double.

One inning later Gordon would give Seattle a 2-1 lead on a sac fly-RBI. And that was the game. This wasn’t a game that netted either team a lot of opportunities. However Seattle took advantage of theirs. The Orioles did not. Another storyline from the 2018 season for the O’s.

Buck Showalter said after the game that he was a fan of Rogers’ approach to pitching, and that he saw improvement in some of his secondary pitchers over his first outing (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

I thought his secondary stuff was better. Roger (McDowell) and I were talking about it. You’ve got a little crispness in the air finally. Guys, pitchers especially, it kind of freshens up their arms. Yac’s velocity was up a little bit from as a starter. He had three days’ off and I wanted to get him out there and not let him sit around too long.

Josh was good. I love his presentation, his aggressiveness and the way he comes down the hill at people. But I thought his command was a lot better. Not so much command, but just his usefulness of some secondary pitches that he didn’t show as much the first time.

The aforementioned play with Mullins relaying the ball to nail a runner at second base isn’t something that shows up on the scorecard, but it’s huge. If the rebuild is successful and in a few years’ time the Birds are playing meaningful games at this point in the season, that’s the type of thing that can propel a team onward. Hitting the cutoff man and doing so with precision isn’t something that’s always happened. It sounds simple enough, but in practice it appears to be challenging.

The series continues this evening from Safeco Field. Alex Cobb gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Wade LeBlanc. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.

Baltimore Orioles swept out of Kansas City

Baltimore Orioles’ manager Buck Showalter put out a lineup in yesterday’s series finale in Kansas City that would have made a spring training travel roster blush. And I don’t say that to be critical; Showalter had a few players that he wanted to rest due to some nagging injuries. So in effect he had no choice but to put out the lineup that he did. Granted, it didn’t help starter David Hess, who took the loss. Hess’ line: 4.0 IP, 9 H, 5 R (4 earned), 0 BB, 3 K.

As seems to be the pattern, the Orioles actually had the lead early. Jonathan Villar smacked a solo homer in the first inning. But it was downhill from there. Kansas City tied it an inning later on Escobar’s RBI-single. Regardless of who was playing in the game, the Orioles could never recover.

Kansas City would take the lead in the third, on two throwing errors by Hess and an RBI-double. Hess attempted to pick two different runners off, and ended up making errant throws. Runs scored on both plays. As has been stated several times, this Kansas City team doesn’t really take their foot off the gas. They just keep adding on; one run here and another there. When the smoke cleared after nine innings, they had swept the Orioles with a 9-1 victory.

And the aforementioned sequence where Hess committed two throwing errors is classic of how Kansas City wins games (in good seasons or bad). They kind of sit back and take whatever they can. If that’s a sac fly-RBI, they happily take it. If it’s an RBI-single or a run-scoring double-play (no RBI), they take it with joy. If you hand a breaking ball or a fastball leaks back over the middle, they’ll also hit the ball out of the ballpark.

They also bank of teams like the Orioles pushing too hard, and ending up making mistakes. You can certainly excuse David Hess’ errors in this instance because he’s still a rookie and he was trying to make something happen. But that’s a trap into which Kansas City can lull you. And seemingly they’ve done it to the Orioles time and time again since the 2014 ALCS.

This loss probably seals the fact that the O’s will get the top pick in next year’s draft. Granted the Birds could have an amazing September and Kansas City could tank, so you never know. While you never want to be in a position to have the top pick, when the draft comes around it’s certainly a nice luxury.

The Orioles will now head to the west coast to open a three-game set in Seattle. Josh Rogers gets the start for the O’s tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Seattle’s Erasmo Ramirez. Game time is set for just after 9 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Mychal Givens gives up walk off homer to Kansas City

The Baltimore Orioles and Mychal Givens were reminded last night that small ball isn’t just a way to play the game, it’s almost a way of life. And part of that way of life is that you literally don’t stop playing. Whereas in the AL East it seems that once a late death blow has been issued, all’s done. But small ball teams like Kansas City have a different world view.

Dylan Bundy came within two outs of a quality start last night. Bundy’s line: 5.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Almost doesn’t cut it, however. The Orioles were though able to take an early lead on a sac fly-RBI by Andreoli. That was complimented two innings later by Tim Beckham‘s solo homer, and the Birds appeared to be setting themselves up for a nice win on a Saturday night in Kansas City.

But again, part of the small ball mentality is that you just don’t quit. Kansas City got a solo homer by Phillips in the fourth, and an RBI-double from Goodwin and an RBI-single from Herrera in the sixth. Before you knew it, the O’s trailed 3-2 and Bundy had been chased from the game.

But Trey Mancini got the Orioles right back on track in the top of the eighth. His solo home run tied the game at three, and it was followed up later in the inning by Beckham’s RBI-double to give the O’s a 4-3 lead. However again, in the AL East that right there would have probably ended the game. Unfortunately for the Birds, they weren’t playing a division game.

Mychal Givens promptly walked the lead off guy – not what you want to do with a one-run lead in the last of the ninth. Merrifield promptly deposited a Givens pitch into the stands, giving Kansas City an improbably 5-4 victory in walk off fashion. To his credit following the game, Givens didn’t beat around the bush when it came to his outing (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

Walked the leadoff guy and made a bad 0-2 pitch. Today, especially with how our team’s been playing. We’ve been playing really good, battling circumstances with what’s been going on this year. Today, I failed the team as far as [I] didn’t close out the game. They worked their butts off getting back in the game. Just have to do a better job. A bad 0-2 pitch. I was trying to just locate it down and away. The ball got away from me, and got into his bat path.

This is a Kansas City team that’s been a thorn in the Orioles side no matter the circumstances. When the teams met in the ALCS their exuberance and never say die attitude dipped and dunked the Orioles to death with bloops and broken bat singles. Now the same is true with both teams struggling – the exuberance part, at least.

The O’s will try to salvage one game this afternoon at Kaufman Stadium. David Hess gets the call for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Jorge Lopez. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Cedric Mullins homers in Birds’ loss

Cedric Mullins to date has been as good as advertised for the Baltimore Orioles. It’s easy to see why Adam Jones was apparently lobbying for the youngster to come up to the big leagues for some time. Mullins had two hits in an otherwise forgetful game last night in Kansas City, one of which was a homer. Fittingly, Mullins (in the short time he’s been with the club) has been a bright spot in an otherwise forgetful season in Birdland.

Andrew Cashner got the start, and he bent but didn’t break. That’s the best way I can put it. Cashner’s line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 1 K. He walked a bit on the wild side and flirted with disaster, but never really gave up the death blow. That came later.

Mullins led the game off with a solo homer. The Orioles are batting Mullins lead off because he does in fact get on base frequently, and in doing so is a constant threat to steal with his speed. Of course the act of hitting the ball out of the ballpark makes that a moot issue! (And incidentally, while you’ll take it you really don’t want your lead off guy smacking the ball out like that.)

Kansas City however came right back in the last of the first and put runners at the corners with nobody out. But again, Cashner bent but didn’t break; he induced Dozier to ground into a run-scoring double-play. Kansas City, being a small ball team, is fine with that because they get a run and go on their merry little way. But make no mistake that it’s a win for the defense. You’ll sacrifice one run early in the game like that for two outs.

Kansas City would take the lead in the last of the fourth on a sac fly-RBI by Merrifield. However one inning later Dozier would smack a solo homer, as would Gallagher one inning after that. Sandwiched in between those home runs was a sac fly-RBI by Trey Mancini, which for a short period brought the O’s to within one. But it wasn’t to be their night.

One thing about Kansas City, who like the Orioles are now in rebuilding mode after some great years – they don’t really take their foot off the gas. It’s easy enough to say that you should never take your foot off the gas, but let’s face facts; when you’re up big it’s easy to do. I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve done it many times – I play pickup basketball every week, and we play games to seven. If my team’s up 6-0, generally we’ll end up winning 7-3 or 7-4. Because instinctively you kind of take your foot off the gas.

Kansas City doesn’t seem to do that. They keep it going, and they add runs on if they can. When the smoke cleared last night they had won the game 9-2. It’s almost a Bill Belichek-like mentality in that it’s not their job to stop their offense.

Again however, the good news for the Orioles is that Cedric Mullins is coming along as a player. One thing that’s interesting is that many people love to decry the Orioles’ minor league system. People think that they can’t develop talent, and they use the fact that so many players leave the organization and thrive as evidence of that. While there are legitimate criticisms to be made, Mullins appears to be evidence that the idea of talent development with the Orioles isn’t a foreign one.

The series continues this evening at Kaufman Stadium. Dylan Bundy gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Heath Fillmyer. Game time is set for 7:15 PM.

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