Tough loss for the Orioles


Birds Watcher staff writer Randy Buchman sent me an email last night reminding me about this column that I wrote back in August. Without re-hashing what I said in that column, it’s worth mentioning that Alex Rodriguez tied last night’s game at three with a solo home run. Granted last night was only one game, but is there not the appearance that New York has been making it’s move since Rodriguez’s return from injury? Granted, him being allowed to play during an appeal of a suspension is a right afforded to him by the collective bargaining agreement. But regardless of any rules or regulations, just let it sink in for a moment that the playoff race is being affected by someone that shouldn’t be out there.

Courtesy of USA Today

The Baltimore Orioles got another quality start out of Scott Feldman last night. Feldman’s line: 7.2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K. If the idea is to put your team in a position to win, Feldman certainly did that. He surrendered a run in the first inning on a sac fly, but then retired the following twelve hitters. (And for the record that run in and of itself was somewhat questionable because you could have argued that Matt Wieters threw Brett Gardener out while stealing second, however the umpire called him safe; bang-bang play either way.) Chris Davis ripped a two-RBI double in the last of the third to put the Orioles in the lead at 2-1. J.J. Hardy would add an RBI-double in the fourth, and the Birds had a 3-1 lead.

However New York chipped away at the Birds’ slight lead through the long ball. Curtis Granderson hit a solo home run in the fifth, and of course Rodriguez’s aforementioned tying home in the sixth. However it was the top of the ninth that did the Orioles in for good. Robinson Cano hit a misplaced Tommy Hunter changeup into the seats and NY took the lead. Cano had previously fouled off a 95 MPH fastball, which made Hunter go to his change. However the pitch stayed up in the zone, and Cano jumped on it. Curtis Granderson would triple later in the inning, and then score on Lyle Overbay‘s infield single. That was almost bigger than the home run, because the Orioles did manage to score in the last of the ninth on Brian Roberts‘ RBI-single.

The real frustrating part is that Overbay’s infield hit was placed with pin point accuracy right where it needed to be in order for him to reach base safely. That’s the way the ball has bounced for the Orioles of late in a sense. I suppose it’s a similar phenomenon to hitting the cover off the ball and having it be caught, only to have your opponent score on softly hit flairs that barely make of over the fielders’ gloves (as we saw a few weeks ago).

And yes folks, the whole ARod situation is the elephant in the room. Again, baseball’s collective bargaining agreement allows him to play during this appeal. We have no choice but to respect that, along with the process. But while the Orioles are still taxed with beating ARod between the white lines (which they were unable to do last night), it shouldn’t sit well with Orioles fans that this is “going down” as it is. That’s just my view; take it or leave it.

The Orioles will try to salvage a series split with New York tonight, as Wei-Yin Chen will look to put the Birds in a position to win tonight. He’ll be opposed by Phil Hughes. The Orioles are also removing Bud Norris from the rotation for the time being, and Jason Hammel will start tomorrow’s game in Toronto. Norris is experiencing some elbow discomfort, but he could return to the rotation next week in Boston.