Remember back in July when David Ortiz of the BoSox had a meltdown at Camden Yards, culminating in an ejection and him destroying the dugout phone with a bat? The next day he came out and had three RBI against the Orioles, and some folks spun that into Ortiz getting “his revenge.” That would indicate that he was somehow wronged, which would mean…that the Baltimore Orioles were in effect spun into the aggressors. One way or the other, a sleeping lion was brought to life by an outside force beyond the Orioles’ control. In last night’s 7-5 loss to New York, we saw something similar with Alfonso Soriano. Nick Markakis hit a medium depth sac fly to left in the fifth. Soriano came up throwing in an attempt to nail Brian Roberts at the plate, and was visibly angry when that throw was cut off by Alex Rodriguez.
Orioles’ starter Miguel Gonzalez was solid, however he was also unable to go more than six innings. Gonzalez’s line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K. This goes down as a quality start for Gonzalez, who left the game with the lead. For the second consecutive night an Oriole starter also failed to yield a walk, which is a great sign. In fact, the Orioles only yielded one base on balls all night (Brian Matusz). New York struck first, when Alex Rodriguez hit an RBI-double in the third to give them a 1-0 lead. However the aforementioned fifth inning put the O’s in the driver’s seat. The Markakis sac fly gave the Birds a 2-1 lead (after they tied it with Hardy scoring on an error). Chris Davis followed with his league-leading 49th homer of the season (a two-run shot), and the O’s led 4-1. Davis’ next home run will tie a team record of 50 in a season, set by Brady Anderson in 1996.
As I said above, Soriano was visibly angry that ARod cut off his throw. Quite frankly, I can understand why because it looked like he had a chance to nail Roberts at the plate. (That said, I’m not a big fan of a player using body language to show disappointment in one of his teammates.) However like Ortiz, Soriano used this as motivation to get up and take that frustration out on the Orioles. He sent a solo homer out of the yard in the sixth, which was followed by a Mark Reynolds moon shot. ARod would double to lead off the eighth, and later would score on Robinson Cano‘s RBI-single to tie the game. New York took the lead for good when Soriano hit his second homer of the game, this one of the two-run variety.
I suppose the premise here is that David Ortiz seemed to use an outside situation (anger at the umpire in his case) as motivation to come out and almost single-handedly beat the Birds the next day. Soriano used an outside situation (anger at a teammate) to do the same thing. To say the least, the Orioles might be in better shape if they stayed out of the dramatics going on inside of other teams!
New York would add another run in that eighth inning, and the O’s would get one back in the last of the eighth on Matt Wieters‘ sac fly. Ironically, the silver lining here is that the Orioles were two-for-three with runners in scoring position. This is why I think that stat can be just a bit overrated. In no way am I suggesting it’s not important, but I think we can get so caught up talking about numbers with RISP that we lose sight of other impacts of the game. If you go one-for-ten with RISP but find a way to win, it’s really beside the point because you still won the game (and good teams find a way to win). If you go two-for-three with RISP and lose, again nobody’s talking about the decent percentage with runners-in-scoring position because the team lost.
Kevin Gausman ended up taking the loss out of the Orioles’ bullpen, which apparently is now a bit short due to a few players having some minor injury problems. Scott Feldman will take to the mound in tonight’s game three against New York, and he’ll be opposed by future hall-of-famer Andy Pettite. As I said above, the Orioles perhaps can’t afford to be the opposing team when a player such as Ortiz or Soriano have major letdowns, as they’re going to find themselves playing the part of Sven Gali if so!