Let’s be clear; Bud Norris pitched a good game yesterday afternoon at Fenway Park in Boston. However as can sometimes be the case, Norris ended up the losing pitcher in the game; a hard-luck loser at that. Norris’ line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 K. It might sound strange to refer to a guy who gave up four runs as a “hard-luck loser.” But Norris more than kept his team in the game. The reason the O’s lost yesterday at Fenway was due to their inability to get runners on, over, and in.
For the second consecutive game the O’s were able to put one across early in the game, as Nelson Cruz‘s RBI-single scored Nick Markakis. However Boston came right back in the last of the inning and tied the score at one on an error by Jonathan Schoop which allowed Mike Napoli to reach base and Dustin Pedroia to score. Boston would take the lead in the fourth on a David Ortiz solo homer, and suddenly the O’s trailed at Fenway 2-1.
However the O’s would tie the game in a sequence that would involve the first challenge in Orioles’ history – and a successful one at that. Adam Jones stole third base following a double, and Chris Davis would be hit by a pitch. Nelson Cruz hit a slow grounder to third, and he was ruled out at first base. Both Cruz and first base coach Wayne Kirby felt that Cruz was safe, and Buck Showalter immediately came out and challenged the call. Upon further review, the call was reversed and Adam Jones was awarded home plate. Mike Carp would lead off the last of the seventh with a walk, and he was later tripled home by Brock Holt. Herrera would offer a sac bunt which Chris Davis mishandled, allowing Holt to score and leaving the O’s without an out in the sequence.
Bud Norris pitched well enough to win in this game, inducing numerous infield flys and with seven strikeouts. He also ended up being an unnecessary part of an unnecessary situation just prior to Boston taking the 4-2 lead (which ended up being the final score). Following Carp’s walk David Ross was attempting to bunt him over to second base. Norris threw high and tight on 2-1, and Ross appeared to take umbrage with that. Matt Wieters got into Ross’ face about barking back towards his pitcher, and the benches emptied. It didn’t take long for the umpires to restore order, however Buck Showalter went nose-to-nose with home plate umpire Mark Carlson for a few extra seconds.
It turned out that Carlson had issued warnings to both benches, which is why Showalter got somewhat animated with the ump. And quite frankly it was somewhat ludicrous that warnings would be issued on the heels of such a minor situation, thus limiting the ability of BOTH teams to throw inside. Having said that, Ross should be schooled enough in baseball savoir-faire by now to know that in that situation (later inning of a tie game, runner on first, and a 2-1 count) you aren’t going to be throwing at someone. Was Norris trying to throw inside? Absolutely – he was trying to avoid him putting a bunt down in fair territory. But there was no intention to hit or to even send a message in that circumstance – there was no message to send.
But warning both benches is probably too much of a reactionary move on Mark Carlson’s part, because nobody did anything wrong. It’ll be interesting to see if anything spills over into tomorrow night’s game as a result. On one hand I do think that MLB leaves too many things (like bench warnings and even ejections) up to the discretion of the umpire. However it’s also possible to go too far in the other direction in the sense that if you make certain rules saying that this, this, and this are worthy of a warning or ejection, you really leave umpires little to no leeway in anything. The NBA has done this to a certain degree in that you have the concept of a Flagrant 1 or 2 foul. However again, ultimately Ross should have used his head to think about the game situation as opposed to the fact that he was being pitched in.
The Orioles and BoSox will take to the national stage tonight with game three of the series being played on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Normally the Sunday night game begins at 8:00, however first pitch tonight is scheduled for 7 PM given that the two teams will play tomorrow at 11 AM on Patriot’s Day in Boston. Ubaldo Jimenez will try to string together a quality start resulting in his first Orioles’ win, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Jake Peavy.
On behalf of Birds Watcher and the Fansided Network, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy Easter today!