As the series in Boston began last night I was reminded of the great Johnny Cash’s song The Legend of John Henry‘s Hammer. (And no, that’s not due to the fact that Boston’s owner is named John Henry.) There’s a line in the song in which the “bad boss” says you’re full vinegar now but you’re ’bout through to John Henry. Now granted, in that story John Henry was the one who showed the heart whereas the boss was the bully in a sense. However I couldn’t help but think of how quickly Boston had faded as a playoff contender in the wake of a World Series title.
So with the BoSox being ’bout through, there has to be someone there ready to pick up the hammer. Enter Miguel Gonzalez and the Baltimore Orioles. Many people love to suggest that the Birds are in a bad division. Be that as it may, the Orioles are light years ahead of the rest of the AL East – for this year at least.
Courtesy of David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Gonzalez gave the Birds a decent outing, although he ran out of gas at the end. Gonzalez’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K. Gonzalez also induced three double-plays, all of which were turned flawlessly. That’s something that Boston was never able to fully do in a sense, as speed on the base paths always broke them up.
The O’s took a 1-0 lead after Nelson Cruz went first-to-third on a Chris Davis single in the second inning. Cruz would later score on a Steve Pearce RBI-single. Nelson Cruz would also walk and Chris Davis would be hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth inning, before Steve Pearce snuck a single into right field to load the bases. Following a Caleb Joseph strikeout, Ryan Flaherty grounded into what should have been an inning-ending double=-play…
…notice I said should have. One run scored on Bogaerts’ out at second, but a second scored on an error when he committed an errant throw. So the O’s took a 3-0 lead onward, and Alejandro De Aza made it 4-0 an inning later. He stole second base, and went to third on a throwing error. He would then score on Adam Jones‘ soft liner to the left fielder Cespedes, who flat out dropped the ball.
Once Gonzalez started to tire, Tommy Hunter was summoned in relief. Hunter recorded two quick outs and pitched two outs into the next inning before giving way further into the Orioles’ bullpen. I would submit that it’s efforts such as that of Hunter which have really assisted the Orioles in getting to where they are today in the AL East. Hunter pitched the Orioles out of a bases loaded situation, preserving not only the game for his Gonzalez, but also for the Orioles.
With the victory, the Orioles’ magic number is now at 11. If they win tonight and NY loses to tampa, that would bring the magic number into single digist. Very exciting to say the least. The series in Boston continues tonight with Chris Tillman on the mound for the Orioles. He’ll be opposed by Boston’s Anthony Ranaudo. Game time is just after 7 PM.
On a side note, you can chalk some of the vinegar in last night’s game up to the fact that a couple of Oriole hitters didn’t seem happy that Boston was throwing inside to them. Both Cruz and Davis didn’t appear to be too happy that they were either hit or nearl hit with a pitch. I would remind fans that often times bad teams will try to tempt good teams into a brawl. And Boston, being ’bout through is in fact a bad team. But the last thing the Orioles want is to get someone hurt or even suspended in a bean war and/or sunsequent brawl. So one hopes that the Orioles don’t drill anyone at some point in a game against Boston. After all, John Henry got to the finish line and said ain’t no drill!