To his undying credit, Baltimore Orioles’ center fielder Adam Jones didn’t beat around the bush when asked about his three-run error in the seventh inning. He was prepared for the questions because he knew they were coming. Jones simply said that he missed the ball, and that he knew it cost the team the game. There are a lot of components to this, as if you watch ESPN you’ll see them question Jones’ trademark blowing of a bubble just as he’s trying to catch the ball. I would submit that the bubble had nothing to do with the error, and regardless of whether or not it was the bubble, the wet track, or the cold, the error was made. Jones isn’t the type that accepts those types of excuses, no matter what they are. He simply says yeah, I blew it…hopefully I can do better next time…
…and that’s something that should be recognized. In this “new world” where it seems that every excuse in the book is offered and even accepted when things go awry, Adam Jones comes across as an old fashion type of guy who doesn’t do that. He owned his mistake last night as opposed to refusing to talk to the media about it as I’ve seen some players do in the past. As Buck Showalter says, we’re dealing with human beings here. People make mistakes, and believe me folks when I say that I’ve made quite a few of them myself. So does that mean Jones gets a pass? Not really, as it’s still duly noted that his error directly impacted the game. However his owning of that should also be just as duly noted in a world where people don’t do that too often anymore. And I’m sure that Jones will give Orioles fans many more reasons to cheer over the course of a season than he will reason to boo.
Keep in mind also that Jones’ error wasn’t the only factor in the game. If anything, it might be overshadowed by the 4-6-5-6-5-3-4 triple play that New York turned int he eighth. Manny Machado got a little over-aggressive on the base paths, and was tagged out between first and second to complete the play. To be fair, had Machado stayed at first base the Orioles would have only been in a two-out situation with a guy on first. However is that play more to blame for the loss, or Jones’ error? Take your pick. Either that or how about the six walks that were issued by Orioles’ pitching? Starter Miguel Gonzalez issued five, and the sixth was granted by Troy Patton. However the fact is that Gonzalez pitched well enough for the Orioles to have won the game: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 4 K. It’s been the same story in a sense for Orioles’ pitching this year in that they need to keep the ball down. Gonzalez was pitching in the strike zone last night, however several of his pitches were high in the strike zone.
Again, Gonzalez did put the O’s in a position to win. It goes down as a quality start for him in the sense that he threw five plus innings and gave up three runs or less. However that’s a personal stat, which is what every player (including Gonzalez) and every coach on that team will tell you. The stat that matters most is who has the most runs at the end of the game. The O’s took a 1-0 lead on Manny Machado’s RBI-single in the third, however NY knotted it at one in the last of the inning on Kevin Youkilis’ RBI-single. Both teams would end up with two runs before the “shenanigans” mentioned above started happening, however it’s also worth mentioning that Steve Pearce’s fly ball to left field in the seventh inning probably would have been a two-run home run if not for the blustery wind. Totally different game had that been the case; but the fact is that if’s and buts aren’t candy and nuts.
The Orioles are now tasked with coming back and trying to get things back on track this afternoon after a tough loss last night. It’s something they did numerous times last year, and even already this season earlier this season in Boston (with a day off in between). Jason Hammel takes to the bump for the Orioles, coming off of a somewhat lackluster start last week against Minnesota. He’ll be opposed by Phil Hughes, who’s getting the start today as a consequence of New York’s two rain outs in Cleveland earlier this week. They’re skipping Andy Pettite’s spot in the rotation due to the lefty having some back spasms at the moment. The Orioles are 4-6 against Hughes, who has a career ERA of 5.10 against the O’s over 14 starts and 17 appearances.
In continuing the carousel of game time’s, the Orioles have a somewhat quicker turnaround today than they normally would on a Saturday. FOX’s window this week is at 1 PM, so New York scheduled this game as a 4 PM first pitch. However the Orioles will get a bit of a longer turnaround tomorrow whereby the normally would be playing during the 1 PM hour, but instead they’ll get to play under the lights on ESPN’s Sunday night game of the week at 8 PM. With all of this said, if you take anything away from this column or from last night’s game, it should be that while you need to improve on your mistakes you’ll gain a lot more respect by owning up to them as well. And that’s life advice folks, not baseball acumen.