It’s really difficult to be critical of a team like the Baltimore Orioles in the sense that they played 12 scoreless innings last night only to fall 1-0 in extra innings. On top of that, they won the first two of the three-game set with Anaheim, after taking two-of-three from them and three-of-four from Seattle last week on the west coast. However, they all count the same in the won/loss column, and the Birds found themselves on the wrong end of that last night.
During the game I tweeted that if the O’s ended up making any sort of magic this season, perhaps one of the most important moves they would have made would be last year’s trade for starting pitcher Bud Norris. I’m not sure that Norris had his absolute best stuff last night, however it was also a far cry from having his worst. Norris’ line: 7 IP, 8 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Anytime you put a zero in the runs column you should win the game. Unfortunately for Norris and the Orioles, that wasn’t the case last night.
Norris did find himself in a few jams along the way, however he was always able to bail himself out of it. Albert Pujols hit into two double-plays, which Norris was able to induce. Manny Machado helped him out as well with a few more sparkling plays at the hot corner. Unfortunately for the Orioles, they came up against a starter in Anaheim’s Tyler Skaggs that was mowing hitters down. Skaggs walked two hitters and struck out seven through 4.2 innings. The O’s seemed to come to the plate ready to swing last night, and Skaggs came ready to take advantage of that aggressiveness.
I will say that I felt badly for Skaggs. He came across as a kid with a lot of promise that was having success last night – and in the middle of a fifth inning at-bat he summoned the Anaheim trainer after feeling something in his hand. Skaggs had to leave the game due to what was later called left forearm tightness. Caleb Joseph immediately recorded the Orioles’ first hit, ending the no-hit bid (which was already in effect over).
So as the game went into extras both bullpens earned their keep However Ryan Webb walked Kole Calhoun to lead off the 13th inning, and he went to third base on Mike Trout’s single. Calhoun would score the game’s lone run on Albert Pujols’ RBI-single, which won the game for Anaheim. Just to show how competitive the AL East is, the O’s just went through a week whereby they lost on Saturday to Seattle and last night in Anaheim. Overall, this was a very successful stretch for the Birds; yet they lost 2.5 games in the standings – because Toronto refuses to lose (to their credit) The O’s are currently in first place by 1.5 games with Toronto well on their tail.
Yesterday’s big news of course was the trade with Boston that sent reliever Andrew Miller to the O’s in exchange for Eduardo Rodriguez (the Orioles’ #4 prospect in their farm system). Miller will be at Camden Yards in uniform for tonight’s series opener against Seattle, which means that the O’s will have to make a roster move. T.J. McFarland, Ryan Webb, or Brad Brach will probably be sent down; the sad thing is that you could make a case against sending either one of them down. That’s how good the Orioles’ bullpen has been.
Wei-Yin Chen will get the ball tonight in the series opener with Seattle. He’ll be opposed by Roenis Elias, who of course was non-decisioned in his previous start – last Sunday in Seattle against the Orioles.