With their 5-2 loss in the series finale to Houston yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles snapped a five-game winning streak. However I would remind fans that you aren’t going to win every game, and that the goal should be to complete every series one game better than you were when it began. The Orioles did that in this series by taking two-of -three from Houston.
Prior to the game the O’s activated first baseman Chris Davis from the DL, following his one-game rehab stint in Bowie last night. However on the flip side the Orioles placed catcher Matt Wieters on the 15-day DL. Buck Showalter said he’s felt all along that Wieters’ injury is “DH-able,” however one of the only ways to see the full extent of the injury was to shut Wieters down and let his elbow rest. Obviously at worst he’ll end up having Tommy Johns surgery and be gone for a year plus. At best, he’s fine right now and the Orioles are playing roster games.
Chris Tillman struggled in the first inning to find the strike zone, and ended up throwing far too many pitches. Tillman’s line: 5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 5 BB, 3 K. Two of those five walks came on the first two batters of the game. Juan Castro promptly came up and smacked a three-run homer to give Houston a 3-0 lead. However Tillman settled down and made it out of the inning without further damage. But the damage was already done in a sense.
The O’s finally broke through in the last of the third when Adam Jones sent a two-RBI single to left field, cutting Houston’s lead to 3-2. However that’s as close as the Baltimore Orioles were able to get. Krauss extened Houston’s lead in the seventh inning with a two-run homer, running the score to 5-2 – which of course ended up as the final. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak that the Orioles had going. However again, the Birds finished the series a game better than they were when it started. It’s also probably better to halt the winning streak at a modest five games before it turned into “a thing,” as eight or nine-game streaks are tougher to let go of than five-gamers.
Rumor has it that the O’s are in the market for a backup catcher either via free agency or a trade. That would indicate that Wieters might be out for the foreseeable future, although only time will truly tell. I suspect that they wouldn’t pull the trigger on a deal for someone until it was obvious that Wieters was going to be out for some time, although that might in effect raise a team’s asking price.
Here’s another angle on this; where would a prospective Tommy Johns surgery leave the Orioles with regard to extending Matt Wieters? Keep in mind that’s only a fringe option at this point, but the fact is that Wieters will be a free agent after next year. If he had Tommy Johns surgery tomorrow, it would be at least next May before he could return…which puts him smack in the middle of a contract year. Would the O’s run the risk of losing Wieters for this season so as to potentially lower the price on keeping him? Equally as importantly, would the O’s run the risk of losing Wieters for this year so as to potentially weed out some of the other teams that might be interested in signing Matt Wieters as a free agent after next year?
All of that is a bit of a stretch, and admittedly I’m playing devil’s advocate. I’d be the first one to tell you that milking a medical situation for purposes like that might border on malpractice. And if there’s one thing the Orioles have proven, it’s that they look out for their players’ health first. But having said that, I have to wonder if Dr. Koko Eaton down in Tampa might not weigh in on whether or not Wieters needs Tommy Johns surgery.
The Orioles open a three-game set with Detroit at Camden Yards tonight at 7 PM. Bud Norris will be on the mound for the Birds tonight, and he’ll be opposed by Rick Porcello. In a bit of a scheduling quirk, the O’s will actually get to see Detroit under the lights this week twice, as opposed to three consecutive day games – what’s this world coming to?! (Note the sarcasm.)