Lough-down on the Baltimore Orioles’ latest win
Many national pundits are critical of the Baltimore Orioles because of how often they seem to win with the home run ball. And perhaps it’s worthy of a mention here and there. However the real story isn’t so much that they win with homers, but more so that they’re winning – period. Good teams find ways to win regardless of how they have to do it.
Miguel Gonzalez turned in a complete game shutout for the O’s last night, in what might have been his most dominant performance of the season to date. Gonzalez’s line: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K. Obviously that effort was much appreciated from the team’s perspective, however t a time when manager Buck Showalter is also trying to figure out who’s going to be on a perspective post season roster, it also did a lot to solidify Gonzalez’s place. In truth, he’s been one of the most consistent starters down the stretch for the Baltimore Orioles; last night’s effort just reinforced that idea.
The O’s took a 1-0 lead in the last of the third on a Jonathan Schoop solo blast that landed in the Cincinnati bullpen. One inning later, David
Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Lough doubled the margin to 2-0 with a solo homer of his own. Lough of course hasn’t seen as much action as he and the Orioles would have liked when they aquired him via trade last off season. However he also wasn’t aquired due to his power in the first place, so anytime you can get a contribution like a home run from a guy like that you’re coming out ahead.
Following an Adam Jones strikeout in that same fourth inning, Nelson Cruz would double to bring Chris Davis to the plate with a runner in scoring position. And Davis hit a ball that might not have landed yet – and the opposite way at that. His two-run homer broke the game open at 4-0. Jonathan Schoop would add a two-run double in the last of the seventh to run the score to 6-0.
The rest of the game was all Miguel Gonzalez and the Orioles’ defense. Again, good teams find ways to win; in doing so, they also find ways to get whatever they need. The bullpen had started to show a couple of signs of cracking in the past couple of games. (Whether or not that was just a couple of guys having a bad day or it was guys feeling tired is another story.) Nothing major mind you, just a few pitches up which had netted opposition runs. So Gonzalez goes out and pitches a complete game shutout, saving the bullpen for a night.
The Orioles will close out the series with Cincinnati and the homestand tonight with Chris Tillman on the mound. He’ll be opposed by Cincinnati’s Mike Leake, with game time set for just after 7 PM. One thing that’ll be interesting to see is whether or not the Orioles make any roster moves, additions, etc. this weekend in Tampa. With the Birds’ spring training facility only an hour or so away in Sarasota, they’ll have an opportunity to take advantage of the taxi squad that they created that’s been working out at Ed Smith Stadium. Given the knack that Tampa has for wearing out your pitching, it’s nice to know they have fresh players down there at their disposal if they need they.