Some people were afraid that the Boston Red Sox would come into Camden Yards this week with a chip on their shoulder and crash the Orioles’ party. However the BoSox opted not to play the part of “wedding crashers,” and the Orioles took the game to them by beating them 7-1. Wei-Yin Chen said after the game that he didn’t have his best stuff; while he did get into a few jams, you could have fooled me. Pitchers will get themselves into trouble sometimes over the course of a start. It’s the nature of the position for the most part. The mark of the good ones is those who are able to battle their way out of trouble. That was Chen last night.
You might notice that we haven’t mentioned the Orioles not hitting with RISP for awhile; last night it was Boston that was unable to produce with runners-in-scoring-position. They were 1-for-10 for the game, while the Orioles were 3-for-5. In fairness, this was a Boston lineup that’s been ravaged by injuries. However perhaps what we’re seeing is that they don’t have the organizational depth that they once had. There were years where the Boston Red Sox would suffer an injury and the next man up would slide right into the lineup and produce. That hasn’t happened this year, and it’s reflected on the field.
Boston was able to knot the game at one after Omar Quintanilla’s solo homer gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. However Mark Reynolds put the O’s ahead for good with a fifth inning home run onto the right field flag court (the opposite way) off of Josh Beckett. The Orioles allowed Beckett to walk a tight rope the entire game, but finally knocked him out in the sixth after they put up five runs in the fifth. Beckett’s wild pitch allowed J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones to both reach scoring position, and Matt Wieters bounced a ball high off of the infield dirt which Beckett ultimately bobbled to allow the Orioles to score. Chris Davis’ single brought home Jones, which ended Beckett’s night. Mark Reynolds greeted the new pitcher, Mark Melancon, by sending another shot over the fence for a three-run homer to give the Orioles the lead at 7-1.
The other thing with Boston is that they’re a team in almost total disarray right now. There were reports before the game that players were texting the owner (in late July) and asking that manager Bobby Valentine be fired. If that’s true (and I don’t know for sure that it is), then in my view it’s the players that need to go. Under no circumstances is it acceptable for players to be contacting the owner(s) of the team behind the back of the manager (and the GM) and ask for someone’s head like that. In my view Bobby Valentine is a solid baseball man and in fact he is cut out for the job in Boston. He’s part of the solution to their problems, not the problem itself. If the owner was to pull the trigger on Valentine, it would be proof that the Boston Red Sox organization caters to guys that think too highly of themselves and so forth. If players think that they can get rid of the manager in that manner, they’re the ones that need to go (because they’re part of the problem), not the manager.
That aside, reliever Darren O’Day battled back from a bases loaded situation in the seventh by striking out Cody Ross. Even down 7-1 Boston had a bit of wind in their sails with the bases loaded, but that was their last gasp so to speak. The Orioles also brought in reliever J.C. Romero for the eighth inning. The O’s acquired Romero in a trade with Cleveland on Monday; you’ll remember that Romero was in the organization earlier in the season, however he opted out of his contract when he wasn’t called to the major leagues. The O’s re-acquired him because they had to send southpaw Troy Patton to the DL after he rolled his ankle in a parking garage Sunday night. Romero now gives them a match-up lefty in the ‘pen with Patton on the shelf.
The Oriole will continue this series with Boston tonight, and send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound. Gonzalez is coming off of another gem of a start last week against Kansas City, and he’ll need that kind of stuff once again to beat the Boston Red Sox tonight. He’ll be opposed by Boston’s Aaron Cook, who gave up one run on six hits over seven innings in his previous start. For what it’s worth, last night’s win was number 63 on the season for the Birds. Six more and they’ll have equaled last year’s win total; 18 more, and they’ll reach the .500 plateau, officially ending the 14 consecutive losing seasons. 19 more, and the Orioles would be guaranteed a winning season. So with that said, what’s the magic number moving on from there for the playoffs?!
Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala