The struggles of the Baltimore Orioles’ bats have been well-documented, both here at Birds Watcher, as well as elsewhere. So has the absence of Matt Wieters from the Orioles’ lineup. This evening the O’s found a remedy for both of those issues, as they defeated the homestanding Cleveland Indians 5-2 at Progressive Field. Make no mistake about the fact that the Orioles’ offensive presentation wasn’t perfect – it was a grind. However it was enough.
Chris Tillman broke a six-game losing streak with the win; calk this up as an in-between start on Tillman Island. Tillman’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K. Tillman struggled in one innin, and it was the fifth. However at the end of the day he was able to reach back and record outs, minimizing the damage at that time. He also put the Birds in a position to win the game, which is all you can ask of any starter.
Call to the Pen
Courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Wieters’ first at-bat of 2015 and in 390 days (in a true big league game) came in the top of the first tonight, and resulted in a pop out in the infield. However he also came to bat in the fourth inning with one out and following a Chris Davis walk. Wieters sent a deep RBI-double to left field, and the O’s took a 1-0 lead. Wieters would later score on an RBI-single by Ryan Flaherty to give the O’s a 2-0 lead.
I would submit that it’s important that Wieters got himself on the board right away. The last thing that the Orioles or Wieters wanted was an elongated slump out of the box so as to further complicate things offensively. Whether or not Wieters’ bat itself had any affect up and down the lineup is something we can’t say for sure – but the early returns across the board were promising.
However Cleveland tied the game in the last of the fifth. Jason Kipnis’ RBI-single cut the Orioles’ lead to 2-1, and Michael Brantley’s tied the score at two. This was the only inning in which Tillman seemed to struggle. However as I said above, he also minimized the damage in an inning that could have been a lot worse.
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But the tie was short-lived. The Orioles certainly looked like a team tonight that’s ready to break out of their slump. Adam Jones hit a deep shot to left field that landed almost halfway oup the grandstand. That gave the Birds the lead for good. Jones would add an RBI-triple, and Wieters a sac fly-RBI – both in the eighth. T.J. McFarland also relieved Tillman in the seventh, and pitched superbly as a bridge to Zach Britton to close out the game.
Buck Showalter has said that Wieters will catch on an every other day regiment for the time being. That’s not to say that he couldn’t DH tomorrow or any other day, however that remains to be seen. The O’s will continue their series in Cleveland later tomorrow afternoon, with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound. He’ll be opposed by Cleveland’s Danny Salazar. Game time is set for just after 4 PM.