Baltimore Orioles: Bats Blanked By Tampa


As I’ve said in the past, Tampa’s a strange type of team in that they literally value every individual run. And I know that sounds odd given that not only does every run count, but the Baltimore Orioles defeated Tampa 2-1 on Friday night. So to them scoring one run in the first inning is as good as a three-run homer is in the sixth for the O’s. Of course the issue the Orioles had today was that they couldn’t put nary one run on the board in their own right.

You can’t win if you can’t score – and that’s something which Orioles fans would probably argue we’ve had to say a few too many times this season. Wei-Yin Chen gave the Orioles a quality start, despite surrendering three runs. Chen’s line: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K. But bear in mind that pitchers can provide all of the quality starts that they want, but if they don’t get the run support they need it’s really beside the point. 

And to their credit, Tampa plays their game regardless – they weren’t about to get deeked into playing the Orioles’ game. Brandon Guyer led the game off with a double, and he went to third on a base hit by Joey Butler. An Evan Longoria sac fly-RBI later, and they held a 1-0 lead over Chen and the Orioles before the crowd even settled down. To Tampa that’s huge, because that means the Orioles have to score at least two runs to beat them.

Steven Souza Jr. hit his second homer in as many games in the top of the second, and Joey Butler added one as well to run the score to 3-0 (both were solo shots). And that folks closed out the scoring for the afternoon. The Orioles only mustered three hits on the day, although they did threaten in the 5th. With Steve Clevenger at second and two outs, Ryan Flaherty came up with a soft single to left field. Third base coach Dave Dickerson waved Clevenger home, where he was thrown out at home plate. 

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Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

I would submit that was somewhat of a poor send on Dickerson’s part, although I recognize why he did it. When runs are at a premium you want to try to get something going at all costs. However given that there were two outs, it was a hit to shallow left field, and a catcher was running, it was almost predestined that Clevenger was going to be out. There are plenty of people who have no problem with that send, and that’s okay. I just think you need to play it safe to a certain degree.

The Orioles also let Tampa off the hook in a sense when they allowed Tampa to load the bases in the eighth inning (similar to last night), only to pitch out of it. You have to take advantage when your opponent screws up, which Tampa did with their lack of situational hitting in that sense. But the O’s couldn’t capitalize – which was just fine with Tampa.

This was the first game this year in which Adam Jones was out of the lineup, after having swelling in his ankle in the wake of an injury stemming from Thursday’s doubleheader. After the game Buck Showalter said that Jones was day-to-day, but the hope is that he might be able to play again tomorrow. But we’ll have to see what tomorrow brings. 

The series concludes tomorrow afternoon with Chris Tillman on the mound. He’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi. This is a big game for the Birds, as they need to be able to take two-of-three from their division rivals. My recommendation: score and score early. Because a 1-0 Tampa lead plays right into the game they (Tampa) like to play. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.

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