Pitching failures deflate Orioles’ weekend


Manny Machado throws out Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion (not pictured) in the eighth inning Friday night. Photo: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

In the sea of madness that was Sunday’s performance by the Baltimore Orioles in Toronto, let’s first address umpiring. The umpire yells, “Foul!” on a foul ball, but does not yell, “Fair!” for a fair ball; he just points. Speaking from personal experience as a semi-pro league umpire for a year, that is their training. It was surprising Manny Machado didn’t know that. But I chalked it up to his being in the Major Leagues 4 1/2 months, even though that shouldn’t be an excuse. This was a rare time when responsibility for a mistake got placed right at his doorstep.

The Orioles dodged two bullets in a row this weekend, with Detroit beat Boston Saturday and Sunday at Comerica Park, helped out by a blown call on a dropped fly ball in the 8th inning. The Birds must be glad they’re back home and off that Rogers Centre turf. It would be nice if  the pitching could keep Mark Reynolds and Carlos Santana in the ballpark this week, when the Cleveland Indians come to town.

The position of this blog on Bautista-gate is that Jose Bautista‘s antics going around the bases after Saturday’s home run off Darren O’Day were bush, but that the best retaliation is winning the game. However, as the Orioles did not do that, all you can do is have a hot streak of your own and move into first place at some point. Then wait for the Jays to come back around.

On other topics involving the future, setting aside any argument over whether Matt Wieters has earned an All Star appearance, staying home would work to his benefit. It would give his legs a much-needed rest. Nonetheless, getting picked as a reserve is not out of the question, if the manager wants to shut down the National League’s running game.

The most important thing Chris Davis has to do in the second half is to come pretty close to the consistency he has had up to now. The All Star Home Run Derby gets hitters into bad habits and poisons their performance. Davis is having comparable to the monstrous first half that Josh Hamilton had last year, and Hamilton’s season dropped off a cliff for much of the second half last season. Even though I’m not pretending he’ll sit out the Home Run Derby, it is a concern.

At a later date, we’ll address a few other things that have to happen in the second half, but just to give you sneak preview, priority No. 1 is pitching.