Buck Showalter often says that sometimes you just have to tip your cap. That’s where the Baltimore Orioles were left last night in their 5-1 loss, as Toronto starter Drew Hutchinson shut them down. As potent as the Orioles’ bats have been over the past two games, they were quieted quickly in last night’s game.
Wei-Yin Chen struggled from the outset on a night when he wasn’t about to get much run support as it was. Chen’s line: 5 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 6 K. Two aspects of this start haunted Chen; he struggled to throw strike one, and he struggled with two outs. That happens from time to time with pitchers, and quite frankly I struggle to understand why. Do they let up with two outs just a bit? Do hitters feel they can swing a bit more freely? Darned if I know!
Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the last of the first on a Navarro RBI-single, and another by former Oriole Danny Valencia. In fact, Valencia scored former Oriole Nolan Reimold on his RBI-single, leaving Orioles fans wondering what could have been. However anyone that follows this team has to be aware that letting go of Reimold when they did was the right thing for the Orioles.
The O’s struck back in the top of the second, with their first and only hit of the night. With one out Chris Davis launched a homer the opposite way into the left field grandstand, which cut Toronto’s lead to 2-1. Yes folks, I said the first and only hit of the night. This game will have people bemoaning the Orioles’ offense given the production. In no way am I suggesting that getting one-hit is a good thing. However it’s going to happen on occasion. From the Orioles’ standpoint, one could suggest that swinging at first pitches might not be advisable. However Hutchinson was throwing strikes last night – they just weren’t getting to them.
Toronto lengthened it’s lead in the last of the inning when Jose Bautista followed up a Melky Cabrera double by juicing a homer of his own out of Rogers Centre, and the Orioles trailed 4-1. It was Bautista who was responsible for the fifth run of the night as well; his sixth inning RBI-double put Toronto ahead for good, 5-1.
The rest of the game was all Hutchinson closing the Orioles down. He issued his first and only walk of the game with two outs in the ninth and ended up getting pulled – a move of which I wasn’t a fan. With two outs, I would have let him finish the game. However the fact is that he was as good as good can be, and he mowed down a very potent lineup.
I think it’s very easy to look at this game and be incredibly critical, and perhaps with good reason. However as I said above, sometimes you just have to tip your cap. Furthermore, I would remind folks that you absolutely can’t follow baseball the way one would football. When you play everyday, you’re at some point going to have games like this. If you get all worked up and convinced that the sky is falling just like fans do after losses in the NFL, you’re not going to be a very happy person!
The series concludes tonight with Miguel Gonzalez on the hill for the Orioles, coming off of a laissez-faire start last weekend against Seattle. With Ubaldo Jimenez inching to come back off the DL, does Gonzalez absolutely need a quality start tonight? Time will tell; Gonzalez will be opposed by J.A. Happ.