I wouldn’t worry too much about the Baltimore Orioles in the wake of last night’s 3-2 loss in Oakland. We all know that this is a pretty big series and obviously you don’t ever want to lose, but let’s keep in mind that the odds were probably stacked against the O’s in this one from the get go. The O’s won a dramatic extra innings game at home on Thursday afternoon that ran much longer than it was supposed to, then they got on a plane and made the long flight to Oakland. Throw in the time difference, and you have a tough task in winning a game against a good team. We know that you’re not going to win every game; it’s how you rebound after a loss that defines who you are.
The Orioles lost another player to injury for the remainder of the season, this time Wilson Betemit. The pain in his wrist has gotten to be too much, and the Orioles will shut him down for good in 2012. Joe Saunders turned in a quality start and put the team in a position to win, however he also gave up all three Oakland runs in the game. Saunders’ line: 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K. If the Orioles had won the game those would be considered stellar numbers, however at this point and in the context of this moment it’s all about wins and losses. The Orioles also went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position, which certainly added to the loss as well.
The Birds took a 1-0 lead in the third when Manny Machado scored after J.J. Hardy reached on a error. We hear so much about how Oakland has a cavernous ballpark and that it’s tough to play there; we saw the O’s use that to their advantage in that instance. After Machado go aboard with a base hit, he was able to tag up and go to second on Robert Andino‘s deep fly out to center. Oakland took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when Yoenis Cespedes homered to center, scoring Johnny Gomes. However even in a losing effort, these Orioles still play to the end. Chris Davis came back in the fifth with a home run to center field, tying the game at two. This really shows how zeroed in the Oriole hitters are right now, because hitting home runs in a park like Oakland isn’t easy (especially when you’re not used to the dimensions of the park). Johnny Gomes’ RBI-single in the fifth gave Oakland the lead for good, as they defeated the Orioles 3-2.
Matt Wieters did get aboard in the top of the ninth, and Buck Showalter immediately inserted the speedy Xavier Avery to pinch run. Avery was thrown out trying to steal second base for the final out of the game. I don’t have a problem with a guy trying to steal in that situation. Obviously if he’s safe and someone gets a base hit this is a totally different kind of column this morning. However some people were critical of Avery for doing what he did; not I. While all that matters is wins and losses at this point, Avery went all out to try to win the game. That’s the spirit of the Fighting Showalters.
Zach Britton heads to the mound in Oakland tonight for the O’s, and will try to improve over last Sunday’s 3.1 innings effort in which he allowed five runs. He’ll be opposed by Jarrod Parker, who’s surrendered one run or less in 13 different outings. The Orioles have their work cut out for them, but that’s been the case all year. As Adam Jones (@SimplyAJ10) says on twitter: #LEGGO!