Baltimore Orioles: Wild victories still count


At various point in yesterday’s game, you felt that the Baltimore Orioles had the game in hand and that the rest of the game was merely a formality. However it seemed like everytime the O’s tried to get comfortable with the lead, Minnesota kept coming back. I suppose you could say that it was a rare off outing for perhaps the best bullpen in baseball; and if you’re going to have an off game, doing so in one where you have sizable leads is probably the time to do it.

Through all of the craziness, Wei-Yin Chen still provided the Orioles with a decent start. Chen’s line: 6.2 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 7 K. To me, the zero walks and seven strikeouts indicates that he might have been getting a bit too much of the strikezone. However again, if you’re going to have that happen you’d like it to be in a game where you get 12 runs worth of support.

Nelson Cruz smacked a solo homer, and Ryan Flaherty a three-run shot in the last of the third, and the O’s were off to a 4-0 lead. That lead was sawed in half an inning later when Trevor Plouffe knotched a two-run homer, which started a trend of Minnesota doing everything in their power to remain relevant in the game. And that’s certainly to their credit; I would submit that Orioles fans would have often wished that the Birds would have put up a fight that strong back when they were playing out a string so to speak.

The first time the O’s thought they had busted the game wide open was in the sixth. Adam Jones smacked a two-run double, and J.J. Hardy hit a three-run homer to left field. Caleb Joseph would add an RBI-single, and with a seven-run inning and took an 11-2 lead. Game over for all intents and purposes…right? As Lee Corso says on ESPN’s College Gameday, “…not so fast my friend!” Schaefer (not “William Donald,” for those keeping track at home) would smack an RBI-single in the seventh, and Santana would knotch a two-run home run. That only cut the lead to 11-5, however it also told the Orioles that they might not be done quite yet. For good measure, Jimmy Paredes would come through again in the last of the seventh with an RBI-single.

Ubaldo Jimenez came in to mop of in the ninth inning, but somehow he thought that he was in the first inning of a game. After loading the bases he walked in a run, at which point he was lifted. Tommy Hunter then allowed a two-RBI single by Parmalee, prompting Buck Showalter to go to closer Zach Britton – game over with a double-play.

Again, if the bullpen was going to have an off day you probably wanted to absorb the effects of that in a game that was all but over.

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously the part that sticks out to most people will be that Jimenez came in and struggled once again. As we move into September, I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see too much of Jimenez. He might get into games in the manner he did yesterday (mop-up duty in a blowout), but with rosters expanding today the Orioles are going to have more pitchers at their disposal.

Again, rosters expand to 40 players today. I would expect the O’s to bring players in waves, with perhaps a couple of pitchers today for sure. Furthermore, I suspect that Buck Showalter might start managing games a bit differently. If a starter happens to struggle, I think the hook will come quicker given that there’ll be more pitchers available to use and tiring out the pen isn’t going to be as big a deal.

The series with Minnesota will conclude this afternoon, in a Labor Day matinee. Kevin Gausman will square off against Phil Hughes. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.