Most people when asked if they’d like to hear the good news first or the bad news first will choose the “bad” … figuring if they can bear that, it can only get better.
So, regarding the Orioles’ Saturday game against the Rays, giving you the bad news first:
The Orioles only had 5 base hits; the Rays had 2
The Orioles were 0-3 with RISP; the Rays were 0-4
Reynolds had a costly error; it did not lead to a run scored
The Orioles could not drive in a tie-breaking run; the Rays 3rd basemen did it for us with a throwing error.
Hellickson struck out 8 Orioles while only giving up 4 hits; Matusz struck out 7 Rays while only allowing 2 hits (yep, you read that correctly!) …. And the best one …..
The Orioles only scored 2 runs; the Rays only managed 1 … and that one was less than glorious.
Back to a tie for first place
So the Orioles win a close one, and that is great! Brian Matasz made it all possible. Even with a shaky 8th inning with the Orioles leading 2-1 – where with one out, Reynolds blows a grounder followed by a Matusz walk, followed by a Strop wild pitch, followed by a Strop walk to load the bases …… then the critical play – a sharp double play grounder from Zobrist to stop the rally. And in spite of the Orioles inability to get an insurance duck in from the pond in the top of the 9th, Johnson did the Johnson thing in the home 9th, and the Birds are in the WIN COLUMN.
But let’s be sober here
The Orioles are a team full of holes. This is not a powerful lineup being run on the field at this moment. I’m not being critical, just honest. Hardy, Jones, and Davis are the only guys really hitting the ball right now with ANY consistency. Wieters is in a nasty slump, and Andino is not much better. We thank Reynolds for a big double today, but he is not very frightening to AL pitchers. Props also to Chavez for his first homer here in game 53. And I really like Flaherty and Betemit and company … but they are not scary. There were 11 more strikeouts today. We cannot hit with runners in scoring position. We’re not far from the pitchers needing to throw a shutout while playing for a tie! (OK, that was a bit over the top, but you get the idea.)
Yes, all teams go through these times, and it is good to have that losing streak end. It would be better yet to win the series on Sunday. But the best of all worlds would be to get these injured guys back and set up for a solid 2nd half of the season.
Wow, that 30th win on the season was a difficult one to get!