Scott Feldman probably pitched the best game of his career in Baltimore in yesterday’s 7-2 win over Colorado. Feldman’s line: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K. On the other side of the coin you have several players making major contributions offensively yesterday, not the least of which was Brian Roberts who went two-for-three with two RBI. Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 45th home run, and all-in-all it was a good day at the yard for the Orioles and their fans. It started out a wet day, and the rain might have even put a damper on the crowd (only 22K plus at Camden Yards yesterday). But in the later innings the sun started to come out, which energized the Birds. They’ll need that energy going forward.
Alexi Casilla put the O’s on the board in the second inning with an RBI-single, and the Orioles led 1-0. One inning later Chris Davis legged out a two-out double, which was followed by Adam Jones‘ deep shot into the Orioles’ bullpen. Suddenly the O’s had a 3-0 lead, and Feldman was dealing. He seemed to continue to cruise until the seventh inning, when he started to run into some trouble. Charlie Blackmon‘s RBI-double cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-1, and after Blackmon stole third base he was able to score on an RBI-ground out. Buck Showalter went to the bullpen after Feldman put the would-be tying run on base, and Tommy Hunter induced Dexter Fowler to fly out to left field.
One thing that’s been missing for the Birds has been add-on runs, but they certainly bucked that trend yesterday. Brian Roberts came to the plate in the last of the seventh with Davis and Jones at second and third, and singled to center field on a full count. To go from a shaky 3-2 lead (with the opposition having momentum) to a 5-2 lead is pretty huge. Yet the Birds weren’t quite done with Colorado yet. Just for good measure, Chris Davis decided to homer in the last of the eighth after a Manny Machado single to run the lead to 7-2. That might just seem like a run-of-the-mill add on homer, however after the homer the game ceased to be a save situation which meant no Jim Johnson. Instead the Orioles brought in Josh Stinson (who pitched strong for them on Saturday night also), who closed out the ninth.
With the 7-2 win, the Orioles took two-of-three from Colorado at the yard this weekend. While Tampa ended up beating Toronto on a walk off homer yesterday, Boston fell to New York in the Sunday night game. So the Orioles gained a full game on Boston this weekend (now 4.5 games out of first), and the road gets tough for the BoSox moving forward. They head out west to San Francisco tonight, and then they head to Dodger Stadium this weekend. So with Boston having to deal with the strains of travel and the Orioles at home against Tampa this week, the Birds have a golden opportunity to pick up some ground on both of those teams.
Brian Roberts said in his post game remarks yesterday on WBAL that the players love it when the fans pack the yard. So in that vain I would say that the fans need to PACK THE YARD this week against Tampa. The season itself probably hangs in the balance from this point forward; the time is now! Tampa’s a team that gives their opponents fits simply by how “loosey-goosey” they fly, and the Orioles are no exception. You know that it’s a big series simply by the fact that MLB Network is going to carry tonight’s game, and ESPN will broadcast Wednesday’s series finale as well.
Chris Tillman will go for his 15th win for the third time tonight, after the Birds blew saves in his first two attempts at it. Tillman will be opposed by Tampa’s David Price tonight, in a game that has major if not massive playoff implications. BUCKle Up!