Baltimore Orioles fall in Toronto


In his final road start of the regular season, Chris Tillman fell for the first time – on the road, that is. In fairness, the Buck Showalter also trotted out the B-lineup for the occasion. Adam Jones, Nelson Cruz, Steve Pearce, and J.J. Hardy were all on the bench. And Orioles fans shouldn’t really have a problem with that at this stage. It gives guys rest before things get reved up again next week. It’s also Showalter playing the numbers; Jones was 3-for-26 against Toronto starter Drew Hutchinson lifetime.

Chris Tillman probably pitched well enough to win, but it was far from his best outing. Tillman’s line: 6 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Eleven hits is a lot, but also keep in mind that save for the four runs he also managed to strand many of those runners or get them out. I suspect that the Baltimore Orioles looked at this as more of a tuneup game than anything else, comparable to the final spring training start before camp breaks and the team heads north.

Courtesy of John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

David Lough got on base in the first inning and promptly stole second, giving the O’s an immediate threat in scoring position. Lough would score on Delmon Young’s RBI-double, and the Orioles had an early 1-0 lead. Things got sloppy for the O’s in the last of the second, as Munenori Kawasaki’s RBI-single tied the game. However Toronto loaded the bases on several well-placed and misplayed infield singles. The Orioles’ defense has been off for most of September. However we should also keep in mind that for much of the past two weeks we’ve seen different people in different positions due to the O’s resting people after clinching.

Pompey stroked an RBI-double and Kawasaki an infield RBI-single (which was misplayed on a Steve Clevenger error at first base) in the last of the third to give Toronto a 3-1 lead. While Clevenger’s error didn’t help matters, we should keep in mind that the play was ruled an RBI. Furthermore, Clevenger won’t be playing first base in the ALDS and beyond.

The Orioles got one back in the fifth when Jonathan Schoop scored on David Lough;’s groundout. However previous to that the Orioles fell victim to the Rogers Centre turf, as Alejandro De Aza hit a shot on which Schoop probably would have scored. The ball bounced high off the artificial grass and landed in the stands for a ground rule double (forcing Schoop to stop at third). It’s tough to say how the game would have turned out had that not happened, but that’s just how the ball bounces.

Pompey hit his second triple of the game in the last of the fifth, which drove in Toronto’s fourth and final run of the night. On a positive note, the Orioles bullpen returned to it’s solid form, pitching three innings of scoreless relief between Ryan Webb, Andrew Miller, and Joe Saunders. Of those three, I suspect that Miller will be the only one on the post season roster, but there’s a lot of baseball to be played between now and then.

By virtue of the loss, the Orioles have officially been eliminated in the race for the AL’s best record – which goes to Anaheim. So today’s and tomorrow’s games are officially meaningless for the Baltimore Orioles in that they can’t move up or down in any standings. Go figure that a franchise that all but invented meaningless games in August and September for the better part of a generation would find itself in that same situation in games 161 and 162 this year. But the Orioles are okay with that now, as they’ll be onto bigger and better things after tomorrow afternoon.

One thing that is worth watching is the AL Central race between Detroit and Kansas City.

Congratulations to the Kansas City Royals on making the post season for the first time since 1985. Orioles fans know how Kansas City fans are feeling this morning, and they deserve to see their team in the post season after all this time.

Detroit currently leads by one, however both teams have two to play. Whomever wins the division will play the Orioles in game one of the ALDS at Camden Yards on Thursday.

Speaking of game 161, it wil be played this afternoon just after 4 PM. Wei-Yin Chen will get the start for the Orioles, in one final tuneup before the playoffs. He’ll be opposed by Toronto’s J.A. Happ.