Baltimore Orioles seem unwilling to claim their rightful spot


Let me preface all of this by saying that if you’re a Baltimore Orioles fan, you can blame me for today’s 9-5 loss to Tampa. Seriously; you’re welcome to pin this one right here on my shoulders. I spent much of the first half of the game tweeting about how the Orioles were getting beaten by bloops – among other “small things.” Just as I was saying these things, the fifth inning happened…so if you believe in karma, maybe my commentary summoned some sort of ill moxie.

Chris Tillman wasn’t great, but wasn’t drop-dead horrible either. Tillman’s line: 4.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R (5 earned), 3 BB, 7 K. If anything, Tillman might have been getting too much of the strike zone. Things got going for Tampa on a two-out walk, which is exactly how they get things going. Again, they win games in small ways. However whereas yesterday I said they refuse to allow other teams to force them out of their game, today they seemingly adopted what should rightfully be the Orioles’ game. 

If you told me that the Birds would hit four homers today, I would have assumed they would have won. This began right off the bat on Delmon Young‘s solo homer (his first of the season), which gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. However after a Logan Forsythe double in the second and two quick outs (sending Forsythe to third), Tillman issued the aforementioned two-out walk to Nick Franklin – who was hitting .077 at the time.

You can’t walk a guy with an average like that – you absolutely cannot. That brought Bobby Wilson to the plate, who’s soft bloop RBI-single scored Forsythe from third. However Delmon Young air mailed the throw to third, which allowed Wilson to score and give Tampa a 2-1 lead. While the Orioles didn’t “allow” a .077 hitter to beat them per se, they indirectly allowed a .077 hitter to beat them by letting him on base.

However Delmon Young tried to make up for his mistake in the second when he came to bat in the third inning. He sent a deep shot towards the left field foul pole, which curled into the crowd. Young’s second homer of the game and of the season tied the game at two. While the Young error earlier in the game didn’t help, it didn’t really figure into the final game story – mainly because he came back and tied the game.

So again, here I am talking about how Tampa wasn’t exactly ripping the cover off the ball in nagging at the Orioles, when suddenly bats came to life – Tampa bats, that is. And once again, it was a two-out walk, this time to Evan Longoria. You’re apt not to worry too much about a two-out walk in the sense that there are two outs after all – right? Yes, but when you’re playing a team like Tampa who values every base runner to the 9th degree, that can be a huge problem.

Following a DeJesus infield grounder (another “small play”), Logan Forsythe’s RBI-single scored Longoria and put Tampa ahead for good. Steven Souza shut the likes of me up for good with his subsequent three-run home run, and the O’s trailed 6-2. The Orioles would rally in the last of the inning, loading the bases for Steve Pearce…who grounded out to short on the first pitch. In the seventh David DeJesus would add a solo shot, running the score to 7-2. 

More from Orioles News

Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

However the O’s in fairness weren’t quite done at that point. They chased Tampa starter Jake Odorizzi in the last of the seventh with a two-run home run by Manny Machado. However Tampa would add a sac fly-RBI and an RBI single in the eighth and ninth innings, before Machado would step to the plate again in the last of the ninth and smack his second home run of the game. However it was too little too late, and the Birds fell 9-5.

The O’s have had their shots at taking their rightful spot at the top of the division. However they seemingly end up dropping games like this against opponents that in no way have the same skill as they do, which makes things tough. And for the record, the O’s will continue having a chance to work their way past the .500 mark and into first or second place. But to this point they’ve seemingly been dwarfed by the moment each time it’s come along.

Tampa not only generally beats you by “small things,” but they’re one of the loosest bunches in the league. You do see a certain amount of pressing on the part of the Orioles, and in many cases you see players who seemingly have the weight of the world on their shoulders. However Tampa’s players don’t have time for the weight of the world to be on their shoulders – they’re having too much fun playing baseball.

Adam Jones was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Buck Showalter said after the game that an MRI showed a slight ankle sprain yesterday, and that Jones was continually listed as day-to-day. Showalter wouldn’t comment on whether or not Jones would be available tomorrow or this week in Houston, but it appears that this won’t turn into a DL situation.

The O’s head to Houston to open up a four-game set this week starting tomorrow night. Ubaldo Jimenez will be on the mound for the Birds. He’ll be opposed by Houston’s Brett Oberholtzer. Game time is set for just after 8 PM.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: Buck Showalter All-Time Team

More from Birds Watcher