Some of the players (including Adam Jones) said that they weren’t satisfied only taking two-of-three from Boston after last night’s 3-1 loss. I’ve always said that the mood of these series’ is often dictated by the final game more so than it probably should be. The true story of this three-game series should be more about the Baltimore Orioles coming back on the BoSox twice and winning games in dramatic fashion, as opposed to the O’s being no-hit for six innings and losing 3-1. If you’re going to take two-of-three you either want to drop the first or second games, because then you end the series on a high note. If you drop the third game, it’s almost as if the other team won the series. However make no mistake about the fact that the O’s far exceeded expectations in this series at Fenway.
Chris Tillman struggled, but settled down – albeit after the damage had been done. Tillman’s line: 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 8 K. The real benefit that Tillman provided to the team last night was the fact that he turned things around (after a rocky start) and gave the Orioles seven innings. After using multiple relievers the previous two nights the Orioles’ bullpen now looks somewhat rested going into this weekend’s series with Tampa. Buck Showalter brought Darren O’Day (who hadn’t pitched since August) and Brian Matusz in for the 8th inning, and of course the O’s didn’t have to pitch the 9th.
Boston scored their three runs in the last of the second, with Stephen Drew hitting a one-out two-RBI homer. Dustin Pedroia followed later on with an RBI-single. For awhile in that inning it looked like Boston might run the Orioles right out of the stadium, however Tillman hunkered down and struck out both David Ortiz and Daniel Nava to end the inning. One thing about Ortiz; the guy’s a gifted hitter, and that goes without saying. But I’m not sure how you can strike out swinging, and then mutter something under your breath to the umpire about the strike zone. While it certainly could have referred to something earlier in the at-bat, it comes across as just being bizzare. If there’s one thing we learned this year, it’s don’t take at-bats away from Big Papi.
Through six innings the Orioles could only muster two walks against John Lackey, who took a no-hitter into the seventh inning. Adam Jones took care of that, as well as the shutout, with his solo homer way over the green monster. The hope was that his homer would give the Orioles a shot in the arm offensively, however it wasn’t to be and they went onto a 3-1 defeat.
The Orioles will now head to Tampa, in what’s become a bigger series by the minute. Taking three-of-four would probably put the Orioles in a playoff spot, however dropping three-of-four might end their season in effect. The O’s dropped two-of-three to Tampa last time out, and they’ve been tough on the Birds all year. I recall saying that their batters wear out your pitchers when they hit, but in turn their pitchers somehow have the ability to wear out your batters. Nevertheless, Jason Hammel will get the ball tonight in game one, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s David Price.