Miguel Gonzalez struggled in his first start in ten days for the Baltimore Orioles, as the Birds fell in game one against New York 8-5. Gonzalez’s line: 4 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 BB. Gonzalez breezed through three innings before he ran into trouble in the fourth (he was unable to record an out in the fifth). As Gonzalez himself said after the game, he had trouble keeping the ball down. While he refused to use this as an excuse, Gonzalez also pitched twice in relief this week. Those appearances weren’t strenuous by any means, but they would in theory throw a starting pitcher a bit off his kilter.
With that said, the O’s did battle in this game. They took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth on Chris Davis‘ RBI-single. However the last of the inning was right when New York started going through their lineup for the second time, which is when Gonzalez got in trouble. Robinson Cano was issued a two-out walk, and Alfonso Soriano homered on the next pitch. Nothing good ever happens after a walk, as we’ve said so many times (with thanks to Rick Dempsey). From the Orioles’ perspective the sickening part is that this happened with two outs. We saw them kind of let their guard down with two outs or two strikes in Boston, and obviously New York picked up on that.
However the Birds weren’t out of it – yet. Following a Nick Markakis single in the fifth Danny Valencia slugged a homer out of Yankee Stadium to give the O’s the lead back. When Manny Machado singled with a runner on third later in the inning, the Birds had a 4-2 lead. However much like Boston, NY’s attitude last night seemed to be anything you can do, I can do better. Their five-run fifth did the Orioles in for good last night, headlined by an RBI-double by former Oriole Mark Reynolds, and a homer by Ichiro Suzuki. Ichiro of course has never been a home run hitter per se, however it’s uncanny how often he’s homered against the Orioles over the years. Both New York and the Orioles (on Nick Markakis’ RBI-single) would add another run, however the Orioles fell on this night in the end.
Of course the big news of the day in Birdland was that the O’s traded for Michael Morse, formerly of the Seattle Mariners. (They sent minor leaguer Xavier Avery to Seattle in exchange.) The trade of course came roughly a day before the deadline for waivers trades (4 PM today), so one would think that Dan Duquette is now finished adding pieces for the stretch run. Buck Showalter said that Morse will join the team either today or tomorrow, as he was making arrangements to get from Houston (where Seattle was playing) to New York. If I’m the Orioles I’m making it clear to him that they need him today as opposed to tomorrow. Morse has had a down season thus far that’s been riddled with injuries, but hitting at Camden Yards with the pieces around him that are already in place was an attractive prospect for the Orioles.
Time will tell if this move pays off, however one can only hope that it does in the same manner as Soriano and Suzuki have in NY. Scott Feldman will take to the mound at 1 PM this afternoon as the O’s continue their all-important series in NY. He’ll be opposed by Ivan Nova.