There’s really not much to say after an 11-0 loss other than you have to get back on the horse the next day. For the Baltimore Orioles’ sake, hopefully that’s exactly what they do. Otherwise they’re going to find themselves having dropped two-of-three to the team with the worst record in the majors. First off, it’s impossible to win games when you don’t score any runs. However starter Miguel Gonzalez wasn’t helped any by the circumstances in the game. Gonzalez’s line: 3.2 IP, 9 H, 9 R (4 earned), 2 BB, 5 K.
Gonzalez certainly lacked luster on most of his pitches, however J.J. Hardy committed a two-out error in the fourth with the bases loaded, which was followed up by a Castro grand slam. Prior to that the Orioles still trailed 4-0, however there’s a big difference between being down 4-0 and 9-0 in terms of the game being within reach. A game is always a team effort (win or lose), so this is not to pin all of this on Hardy either. (Again, no chance of victory if the bats don’t even put up one run.)
Almost overshadowing the game result itself was the trade that sent Bud Norris to the Orioles and L.J. Hoes to Houston. This was one of the stranger trade deadline day swaps, with both players literally just switching clubhouses. Hoes was initially in the Orioles’ lineup in left field, and when he got to the Houston clubhouse he found himself in their lineup (in right). As I said yesterday these kinds of trades happen in baseball, however it certainly was interesting to have a player drive from his home to the ballpark (parking in the Orioles’ players lot) finding out he was traded, switching clubhouses, playing for his new team against his old one, and then driving home.
Birds Watcher staff writer Randy Buchman looked at some of the fans’ reactions to the Norris/Hoes trade yesterday afternoon. Quite frankly I was surprised to see was as much negative reaction as existed. I feel that the majority of the opinions were positive, however I suppose that everyone’s entitled to their view. Even though Hoes was with the big league club at the time of the trade (and make no mistake about the fact that he was probably called up so as to say that big league talent was involved in the trade), however I think most fans still saw him as a prospect. Many people are wary about parting with prospects at all. I would tend to agree with those people in some respects, however I also know that you have to give up quality to get quality.
Most of the industry experts seem to think that it was a good trade for the Orioles, and that they gained more in Norris than they lost in Hoes. Here’s the other thing; Hoes’ future in Baltimore probably wasn’t too bright. As an outfielder he was behind the likes of Jones, Markakis, McLouth, Pearce, and perhaps even Nolan Reimold. That made him expendable, and thus he was worth more to the Orioles on the trade market than on the field or in the dugout. I suspect that if not for the trade yesterday Hoes would have been optioned back to Norfolk at some point for Steve Pearce, only to re-emerge in Baltimore in September once rosters expanded. However in Houston now he’s in a situation where a team is looking to meld it’s way into the future, and odds are he’ll be able to play much more regularly at the big league level.
As for the Orioles, they’ll start Norris against his former team in tonight’s series finale at Camden Yards. I have to wonder how strange it was for him to return to Houston’s team hotel after last night’s game with his former teammates. But that’s part of what happens in trades like this! Norris isn’t Jim Palmer by any stretch of the imagination, however in looking at his potential one can see his 3.93 ERA going down a bit with the Orioles’ defense behind him (withstanding last night). As I said yesterday, one thing that can’t be overlooked is that Norris is under team control until after the 2016 season. So this is hardly a rental such as the Joe Saunders trade last year. Norris is a guy that figures into the Orioles’ future, which was a big reason that he was attractive to them in the first place.
Whether or not the trade is truly a success or not is not something that will be tangible tonight after the game. Nevertheless, Baltimore will get it’s first taste of Bud tonight (yes folks, that was purposely done!) against Houston. (You want me to go futher?!…the Astros used to be known as the “Houston Colt 45’s.” That was of course a reference to the gun company, but as we know Colt 45 is also a malt liquor!) He’ll be opposed by Houston’s Jordan Lyles.