Baltimore Orioles: Tommy the hunted
There’s no doubt that Tommy Hunter had no urge to give up eight runs over three innings pitched in last night’s game in Texas. Furthermore, the Baltimore Orioles as a staff probably had no urge to give up four home runs in the entire game, three of which were surrendered by Hunter. Texas seems to consistently be a thorn in the Orioles side in some way, just as the Orioles appear to be chicken soup (or at least broth) to all of Texas’ ailments. History shows this more than anything else; five years ago yesterday Texas soundly defeated the Orioles 30-3 in the first game of a twin bill at the yard. (They would follow that up by winning the second game 9-7.) The Orioles of course surrendered four homers to Josh Hamilton at Camden Yards earlier this year on one game, and now last night Adrian Beltre hammered three home runs against the Birds. Good times, right?
Hunter was up in the zone, and pitching in a park like Texas’ that’s going to be a problem. Beltre’s also always hit Oriole pitching very well for quite some time. Two of his homers came off of Hunter, and one came off of Kevin Gregg. After that 30-3 game five years ago former manager Dave Trembley said, “…whatever we threw, they hit it. It’s that simple.” That’s about it in a nutshell I would say. Many critics and/or “non-believers” in the Orioles are starting to laugh when writers such as myself consistently bring up the fact that they “don’t quit.” That was still true last night, even after surrendering a nine-run fourth inning. The Birds came back and put across two more runs. Even a team with no quit is going to have a difficult time coming back from a nine-run inning, however those two runs are symbolic moreso than anything else. Had the Orioles “quit” on themselves last night the final score would have been 12-1. What’s the difference between 12-1 and 12-3 you might ask? Very little, but it does kind of say these colors don’t run in a way.
Again, detractors are going to say that not giving up means nothing if you don’t win. I disagree. If a team doesn’t give up facing an eight-run deficet, they probably won’t give up down by one in the 9th. It’s a mindset more than anything else, and the Orioles have examplified it with precision in 2012. I do feel that it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Tommy Hunter once Jason Hammel returns to the rotation. Quite frankly as inconsistent as he’s been I would hate to think that he’s not on the roster on September 1st, which is the cut off for people to be on playoff rosters. Yes, that’s an issue for the Orioles this year. Hunter needs to keep the ball down and cut down on the home run balls, but we have also seen him be very good at this level in 2012.
I’m thinking that the Birds will probably make at least one roster move before tomorrow’s game with Toronto, as Friday and Saturday’s starters are currently listed as TBD. (Sunday’s scheduled starter is Chris Tillman.) With an off day today the O’s can manipulate the rotation a bit so that guys remain on extra rest, however the team was also rumored to be interested in Joe Saunders, who was waived by Arizona this week. Could Saunders be headed to Baltimore? The Orioles might not have to give up too much to get him, however it’s also a matter of whether or not he’s the right fit for the team. Time will tell.