Remember the recurring scene in the Rocky movies (almost as must-see as The Godfather trilogy for any Italian kid) where Rocky’s old boxing instructor tells him I didn’t hear no bell! That of course is a manner in which to say that things aren’t over and done with, and that’s very similar to the concept of the “Fighting Showalters.” We know the story by now; play hard ’till the final out. However in this case it’s not about playing until the final out, it’s understanding that the season isn’t over yet. While the Orioles had struggled in the past week – while the teams around them seemed to thrive – they’re far from out of the pennant/wild card race…
…and they proved that with last night’s 8-4 victory over Colorado. Starter Bud Norris struggled at the beginning and end of his outing last night, but put his team in a position to win the game. Norris’ line: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K. Norris gave up one ru n in the first after having multiple runners on base, but the Orioles tied it in the last of the inning on Chris Davis‘ sac fly. However the inning for which most of Birdland had been waiting (to prove that the O’s hadn’t heard no bell) ended up being the last of the third. Adam Jones‘ infield single put runners at the corners with nobody out (and I’ll get back to that later on), and Chris Davis scored on Manny Machado‘s RBI-single to put the Birds ahead 2-1. Jones would score on a Troy Tulowitzki error, and Brian Roberts would later rip a double to the scoreboard in right (scoring Markakis and Steve Pearce). Roberts would also come into score on a Manny Machado two-RBI double, which also scored Nate McLouth from first base (who walked to get on).
When the smoke cleared, the Orioles led 8-1, and had put up a seven-run inning next to their name. Uh yeah, if anyone in Birdland thought the bell had sounded to end things, I think they were mistaken! There was one key play in the aforementioned sequence that stuck out to me, and it’s not reflected in the box score. With the score tied at one and Davis on third, Jones hit a hopper to Nolan Arenado at third. Arenado made a valiant effort to get to the ball, however on contact Chris Davis immediately moved back on the bag at third base. Arenado briefly bobbled the ball, and while he still made a great throw to first base that allowed Jones to reach safely. Did Davis in effect interfere with Arenado, thus causing him to lose concentration? Absolutely. However a base runner does have the right to the bag, and Davis’ quick thinking made that inning possible. Again, that’s something that doesn’t show up on the stat sheet, however it was as important a play as any other (if not more so).
Colorado chipped away a bit down the stretch, and they eventually chased Norris in the sixth after an RBI-single. MASN cameras caught Norris throwing his glove down in the dugout after his departure, obviously not happy about only pitching into the sixth. Overall the Orioles’ bullpen performed very well, pitching 3.1 innings and not yielding a run. Josh Stinson, who was called up from – WAIT FOR IT – Norfolk, pitched an inning plus one out, and held the game in check for the O’s. (If you’re a fan of the TV show How I met your Mother, you’ll get that reference; if not, don’t worry about it!) Buck Showalter used Tommy Hunter in the ninth inning given the fact that it was a non-save situation, which means that Jim Johnson would in theory be rested for this afternoon’s series finale.
The Birds had called Stinson up as the corresponding roster move for Henry Urrutia, who was optioned back to Norfolk (to get regular at-bats according to Showalter). So the O’s shorted their bench in favor of some bullpen support at least for one game. Stinson is expected to be a short-term fixture out in the pen, as at some point (perhaps even before today’s series finale) they’ll need the extra bench player again. Go figure that on a day when the Orioles purposely short their bench, J.J. Hardy has to sit out due to back spasms. Hardy said before the game that he expects to be able to play this afternoon. The series will wrap up today with Scott Feldman pitching for the Birds. He’ll be opposed by Jhoulys Chacin of Colorado.
So fans who thought that the season was over because of a few August struggles were put on notice last night that they were mistaken. This was only one win out of 162 games, however when things aren’t going well for you getting that one stop gap victory is very important. Now the O’s need to continue this trend, especially with Tampa coming to town behind Colorado. With all of that said, forward to about 2:35 of this video clip so as NOT to hear the bell!