Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Unlucky 13 for the Baltimore Orioles

13 is considered an unlucky number in our culture. First and foremost for the Baltimore Orioles, their #13 (Manny Machado) left last night’s game against Cleveland with a groin injury. Machado said it tightened up on him as he slid into a base early in the game, however his hope is to be in the lineup tonight.

According to Machado this injury was the first of it’s kind in his career.

However this game was also the second consecutive win for Cleveland  in 13 innings. They defeated (and swept) Detroit at home on Wednesday afternoon on a walk off balk with the bases loaded, and then won 8-7 last night in Baltimore in the 13th. Let’s be frank; luck has nothing to do with it for the most part. Cleveland made the plays they needed to make, and the O’s didn’t. But if you’re the Baltimore Orioles, you can’t help but see some strange things in last night’s game.

Wei-Yin Chen gave up three runs early, but pitched well enough to win the game without a doubt. Chen’s line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 0 BB, 1 K. The O’s really had an advantage coming in given that Cleveland was starting Justin Masterson on three days rest, and the Cleveland bullpen was spent after it being emptied the day before. Yet Masterson kept the O’s off the board until the last of the sixth. Adam Jones hit a one-out double and then went to third on a wild pitch. Jones would score on Steve Clevenger‘s RBI-single (following a Cruz walk), and Cruz would score on J.J. Hardy‘s RBI-single.

The O’s trailed 3-2, and it appeared that Masterson was recalling the fact that he was going on short rest. If that wasn’t true previously, it certainly was after Ryan Flaherty gave the Orioles

a 5-3 lead a moment after Hardy got on base with a home run onto the flag court in right field. However again, some things happened that kind of defied logic. An inning later Ryan Flaherty bobbled two balls in the infield on what appeared to be routine plays, which allowed Cleveland to tie the score at five. Neither play was ruled an error, however from my vantage point they appeared to be routine. For the most part Flaherty is a plus defender, but last night it was his prowess at the plate and a few defensive miscues that led the way.

In the last of the seventh it was Cleveland’s turn to give back in terms of defensive mistakes. Astrubal Cabrera committed an error in the field that allowed Manny Machado to reach base, and a moment later Carlos Santana‘s throwing error got Adam Jones on board. Cleveland intentionally loaded the bases, and Nelson Cruz‘s sacrifice fly gave the O’s a 6-5 lead. Yet Cleveland wasn’t going away; in the top of the eighth Ronny Chisenhall’s pinch-hit solo homer tied the game at six once again.

Be it errors or keeping up on the scoreboard, Cleveland’s attitude seemed to be anything you can do we can do better.

Again, the Orioles should have had an advantage in extra innings as they faced a tired Cleveland bullpen. However they appeared ready for everything the Orioles did. Granted the O’s did muster a few base runners in extras, the following at-bat would end in a double-play or something to that effect. Following a Brantley single with one out in the “unlucky 13th,” Cleveland seemed to defy logic. Chisenhall attempted to drag a bunt down the first base line, but instead it came off the bat as a line drive bunt. It sailed past first baseman Chris Davis for a base hit. Conventional wisdom says to keep the ball out of the air on a bunt – but yet it worked.

Carlos Santana’s two-RBI double a few minutes later gave Cleveland an 8-6 lead. The O’s made a comeback attempt in the last of the inning with a Nick Markakis solo homer, however it wasn’t meant to be. You can point to a lot of opportunities lost in this game, however specifically I would mention that the O’s had the bases loaded in the fifth with nobody down and managed not to score. Steve Clevenger drew a walk, and J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty were hit by pitches. David Lough attempted a squeeze bunt, however the ball bumbled right back to the pitcher Masterson, who threw home for a force out to start a 1-2-3 double-play. Nick Markakis followed that with a line drive out, and the Orioles got nothing out of a golden scoring opportunity.

While Cleveland was only 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position, the Orioles were 3-for-12. As I said, there’s very little luck involved in this victory from Cleveland’s perspective (although that bunt in the 13th inning defies logic). They just made the plays when they needed to do so. The Orioles will now wait to see how badly Manny Machado is injured with his groin. The hope is that he doesn’t miss any significant time. The O’s will potentially have to make another roster move before tonight’s game given the fact that the bullpen is now somewhat spent.

The question is who goes down – however it’s worth stating that Chris Davis is going to be going on the paternity list in a few days to attend the birth of his first child. That wasn’t expected until Sunday, but obviously that type of thing is out of our hands. So might that be the corresponding move? Bud Norris will take the mound in tonight’s game, and he’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s T.J. House. Again while luck has little to do with most wins and losses, my recommendation to the Baltimore Orioles would be to try to get things done before the 13th inning tonight.

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