Before the Baltimore Orioles even took the field last night, they had received bad news. Catcher Matt Wieters, apparently suffering from elbow discomfort, would be on his way to see Dr. James Andrews – a visit that will occur today, that is. The worst-case scenario is that he has a torn UCL in his right elbow, and needs Tommy Johns surgery.The Orioles are expected to activate catcher Caleb Joseph from double-A Bowie if Wieters has to head to the DL. For the record, Wieters DH’d in last night’s game.
Chris Tillman seemed to restore a sense of normalcy to the Baltimore Orioles’ starting rotation with his solid outing. Tillman’s line: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K. Manny Machado bobbled a two-out shot by Matt Joyce, which was ruled a hit (probably due to the fact that Machado was in a shift). Evan Longoria followed that up with a two-run homer, and Tampa led 2-0.
However Tillman righted himself quickly, and dialed himself in to pitch a good game. Steve
Pearce started the process of chipping away at Tampa’s lead with a solo homer, and J.J. Hardy‘s sacrifice fly in the fourth tied the score. Adam Jones would follow suit with a sac fly of his own in the fifth, and the O’s had a 3-2 lead.
Tillman was able to pitch into the seventh, and in doing so did not give up a hit between innings one and five. His night came to an end in the top of the seventh when Tampa put two runners on, and Buck Showalter called for Darren O’Day out of the bullpen. O’Day opened by hitting Alex Hannigan to load the bases, and then Ben Zobrist tied the game at three with a sac fly.
The single biggest play in the aforementioned last of the seventh might have been Yunel Escobar trying to bunt two runners into scoring position, only to have Steve Pearce rush in to field the bunt from first base. Pearce threw to third to nail the lead runner. On paper that goes down as a simply fielder’s choice, however it was an intangible moment of the game that may well have played a huge role.
With Matt Wieters aboard in the eighth, Steve Clevenger sent a double to the wall in right field…at which point the truly bizzare took hold at Tropicana Field. The Baltimore Orioles became the second Baltimore team (joining the Ravens) to have to deal with a power outage indoors, as a bank of lights went out – delaying the game for 19 minutes. But that’s often life when you play indoors. (In fact, the game was only delayed for that amount of time because both teams agreed to play through the partial darkness.)
Following the delay and a Steve Pearce walk, Ryan Flaherty grounded an RBI-single into right field. That was folllowed by Nick Markakis‘ fielder’s choice-RBI, and the O’s had a 5-3 lead. The Orioles brought Zach Britton out of the ‘pen in the eighth who shut Tampa down, as did Tommy Hunter in the ninth despite a few baserunners. As tough of a game as this was, the Orioles ultimately found themselves on top after 27 outs. However that’s what Tampa does to you – they work you to the brink, win or lose.
Darren O’Day ended up getting the win for the O’s, however Chris Tillman’s effort can’t be minimized. Yet the Orioles’ bullpen ended up getting somewhat taxed – but again, that’s due to how Tampa works pitchers. Game two of the series is set for 7:10 PM this evening – lights permitting. Bud Norris will take to the mound for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Cesar Ramos.
Last night’s game aside, the big concern right now is for Matt Wieters. Obviously we don’t know
too much right now, as the visit with Dr. Andrews won’t take place until later today. Only time will tell, but the fact remains that the Orioles have had their share of injuries thus far on the young season. Ultimately, the Birds have a capable backup in Steve Clevenger, however he’s not Matt Wieters (nor does he claim to be). But let’s see what the doc says before jumping to any conclusions.