Finally…after a three hour plus rain delay, the O’s and Kansas City Royals started their game last night. As manager Buck Showalter said, it was “a special day” for the organization, as the Orioles honored Eddie Murray prior to the game by unveiling a statue of his likeness in left field. Writers are supposed to be unbiased and so forth, however I’ll admit that hearing the “Eddie! Eddie! Eddie!” chants during the ceremony brought me back to being a kid in the Memorial Stadium grandstand with my Dad in the 1980’s. It was truly a special moment for anyone in my generation that grew up with Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken as the faces of the franchise.
At about 6:30, the skies opened up…each time they were going to start the game another cell of rain popped up. After the game Buck Showalter showed some meteorological prowess when he said that the unpredictability had to do with being so close to the bay. Nevertheless, the Orioles probably wish that the game had been postphoned as Chris Tillman was tagged with six earned runs in Kansas City’s 7-3 victory. While he did say that the rain delay threw him off of his routine, the only thing that Tillman said the rain actually affected was that he cramped up a bit.
In fairness, both teams played in the same conditions and it didn’t seem to bother Kansas City’s starter Luis Mendoza. Furthermore it didn’t seem to bother Kansas City’s bats; Alex Gordon again led off the game with a home run to give them an early lead. Kansas City smacked three homers in the game (two from Gordon), which leads people to wonder what has gotten into both teams. Kansas City’s Kaufman Stadium is fairly cavernous, and some of the homers that they’ve hit in this series would have been loud outs had they been at home. This is not to take anything away from them; in fact, it’s a compliment. If they didn’t play where they play, their offensive output might be much better. Speaking of offense Manny Machado lined an RBI-double to left field, giving him the cycle over three games. Omar Quintanilla followed that up with a two-RBI single, cutting the Kansas City lead to 7-3.
Let’s not read too much into a game that although was against an opponent that the Orioles should handle, however had the perpetual feel of being in the rain forest. I will say that if you haven’t been to one of the Orioles legends celebrations, find a way to get to either Cal’s or Brooks’ in September. To use a popular term from the 1980’s, it was awesome! One thing that struck me was that in scanning the spectators you had Cal Ripken Jr along with Murray who represent the Orioles that I knew as a young boy. (And little did I know that hall of famer Ozzie Smith would be in attendance, as he played high school ball with Murray.) Obviously you have the likes of Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell, who were the stars of my parents’ generation. And sitting behind them was Buck Showalter, Adam Jones, and some of the current Orioles. From yesteryear to today, this franchise has had some great players, despite the past decade plus.
Under what we hope are clear skies and the blonde sunshine, the Orioles and Kansas City Royals will close out this four-game set this afternoon at the yard. It’s a pretty big game for the Orioles given that they don’t want to drop three-of-four at home to a team that in theory they should handle. Former Oriole Bruce Chen will get the ball against his former team today. Chen snapped a seven game winless streak in his last start, and he lost to the Orioles on May 25th. He’ll be opposed by Tommy Hunter, who was supposed to start on Wednesday but was scratched after being needed to warm up in the bullpen on Tuesday. Hunter will need to be precise with his pitches today with his propensity to give up home runs and with how hot Kansas City’s bats have been. The game will really boil down to which team bounces back the quickest after the lengthy rain delay followed by an extremely late game. Luckily the Birds have been pretty good at sleeping fast this year as Buck Showalter likes to say.
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