Baltimore Orioles will try to get it together in Kansas City
As if the 6-4 loss dropping them to 0-2 in the ALCS didn’t sting enough for the Baltimore Orioles and their fans, Kansas City’s Jarrod Dyson was asked afterwards whether or not he exected to return to Baltimore (for games six and seven):
"“No sir, I don’t. And I don’t think they [the Orioles] think that eithers.”"
Interesting choice of words on Dyson’s part in that it’s hard not to see that as grandstanding or rubbing salt in the wound of an opponent. Only time will tell if the Orioles are able to use that as bulletin board material once the series shifts to Kansas City.
Bud Norris had a similar outing to Chris Tillman on Friday night. Kansas City is quickly becoming a team very similar to Tampa in that they’re almost totally a small ball team (although they’ve hit for some power in this series), and they wear out your pitching. Norris’ line: 4.1 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 3 K. The fact that he didn’t issue any free passes shows that he was throwing strikes. Honestly, I would submit that he was also squeezed a bit in this game. There were many good pitches that I felt were called balls (both for Norris and for Oriole relievers), but credit to Kansas City in that they took advantage of those counts.
Eric Hosmer’s two-RBI double in the first set the tone for the afternoon, although the Orioles battled back. With the bases loaded and one out, Caleb Joseph hit a sac fly to center field, cutting the lead to 2-1. In Kansas City’s model of play, that’s a victory in that they netted a run. However for a team like the Orioles it’s somewhat of a failure to only come away with one run. Especially seeing that by the next inning the O’s trailed 3-1 once again after Brett Butler’s RBI-double.
But things weren’t done just yet. Adam Jones hit his first ever post season home run (and his first post season extra-base hit at that) with a
Courtesy of Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
two-run shot in the third, and suddenly we were tied at three. But again similar to Tampa, Kansas City’s attitude seems to be anything you can do I can do better. An inning later Mike Moustakas hit a slider that hung up and away into the right field grandstand, and the Orioles once again had to play from behind. However in the last of the fifth Alejandro De Aza scored on Nelson Cruz’s FC-RBI, and were were once again knotted at four.
The key moment in the game was probably when the Orioles loaded the bases once again in the last of the seventh, and with only one away at that. Pearce poped out to very shallow left field, and J.J. Hardy flied out to center to end the inning. In that situation you have to drive at least one run home. Granted that wouldn’t have been enough anyways, however the point is that if you allow a team to wiggle out of a predicament as such, you can bet that they probably won’t be as generous in return.
And once again, it was small ball that sunk the Baltimore Orioles on this day. Omar Infante led off the ninth with a soft infield hit to the hole at short. Closer Zach Britton, obviously having learned his lesson from Friday, took the out that Kansas City was trying to give him as Moustakas sacrificed Infante to second. Alex Escobar then doubled Infante home, and the Orioles trailed 5-4. To make matters worse, Infante went to third on an error by Ryan Flaherty, and he would later score on Cain’s RBI-single.
Credit to Kansas City for winning two games on the road in this series. The Orioles can perhas take solace in the fact that they weren’t really beaten by majestic-type plays; in effect it was a soft infield single that started it all. However that means nothing to a team like Kansas City who just tries to get guys on base more than anything else. The Orioles couldn’t come up with that clutch hit or homer in the seventh (with the bases loaded); Kansas City was able to come up with it when their opportunity came in the ninth.
I do feel that Jarrod Dyson made a big mistake when he made those comments in the clubhouse last night. Based on that and on the way some of his teammates conduct themselves on the field sometimes, you can’t say that Kansas City isn’t a confident bunch. However I also believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way. In my view another way of phrasing that response would have simply been they might as well just give us the trophy now.
History may well prove him to be right, but you never want to count your chickens before they hatch. Whether that’s something that rallies the Orioles at some point remains to be seen. While the season does feel like it’s on the brink in a sense, there’s still some life left in these Birds. It’s whether or not they find that life before it’s too late that remains to be seen.