Baltimore Orioles: It was bound to happen
The good news is that the O’s still have a winning record and thus in that case they’re still masters of their domain. However in posting their first loss of the season, they also became the first victim to lose to the NY Yankees. As I said this morning, you’re either catching New York at the right time or you’re catching them when they’re ticked off at the world. Tonight we saw what was behind door number two with the final score being New York 6, Orioles 2.
Brian Matusz struggled from the outset of the ballgame, throwing 30 pitches in the first inning. It seemed fairly obvious to me that Matusz was somewhat intimidated by the New York’s imposing lineup. Matusz’s line: 4 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 1 K. Matusz threw 96 pitches over four innings. As I tweeted during the game, Matusz’s two-seam fastball was either not sinking, or he was nervous. I’d chalk it up to some of both. He needs to work on keeping the ball down, however he also appeared to be a bit spooked at facing the Yankees. Either way the result is what it is. Part of the issues that the Orioles have had over the years against teams like the Yankees is that Oriole pitchers have tried to nibble at the outside edges of the strike zone. NY’s a team that mandates that you throw the ball in the middle of the plate, otherwise they won’t even offer. Think back to the weekend against Minnesota; Arrieta, Hunter, and Hammel attacked the strike zone, bringing much success to the Orioles.
In fairness, the Birds had a few scoring opportunities, none of which they took advantage (aside from Matt Wieters’ homer in the second inning). Mark Reynolds was stranded at third in the second, and Wieters and Adam Jones were stranded at the corners in the sixth. So the Birds did have chances to close the gap between them and NY. If that happens who knows how the games unfold. However that’s baseball as they say.
If you’re looking for a silver lining, Matt Wieters was 4-for-4 at the plate. One thing that I along with just about everyone else was Nick Markakis arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Paul Schreiber in the last of the eighth. Markakis took a called strike two and three in his at-bat on pitches that appeared to be well outside. Markakis is a guy that says nary a word to anyone much less an umpire. However in my opinion he fell victim to an umpire that might well have had dinner reservations at Sabatino’s or perhaps Bo Brooks. In general the Yankees aren’t a team that needs help from the umpiring crew when it comes to the strike zone. Manager Buck Showalter came out to protect Markakis, and the fact that Schreiber allowed Markakis and Showalter to both have their say without being run out of the ballgame is telling to me.
Whenever a player puts on a uniform to go out and play his goal is going to be to win. However it goes without saying that you’re not going to win every game out of 162. So while I don’t want to offer praise for this game by any means, it’s almost good that this game happened when it did. Certainly Brian Matusz didn’t help his long-term stability on the roster by any means (not to say that he should or will be on his way to Norfolk after one start), however again it’s impossible to win every game. My point is that it’s almost a blessing in disguise that the O’s got a loss out of the way so that they can get on with the season.
This is important for the Orioles as well as the fans; this game needs to be discarded and left alone. As much as people like me were saying not to get too excited about 3-0, people can’t allow themselves to think that the sky is falling now. If it is, then the Birds have158 pointless games ahead of them moving forward. The O’s get another crack at these Bronx Bombers tomorrow night; all is not lost.
Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala