Baltimore Orioles get back in the saddle on Matt Wieters’ homer

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The Baltimore Orioles came into tonight’s game having won five of their previous six games. However in any sequence of games perhaps the most important is the one immediately following a loss. The best way to avoid long losing streaks is to head them off at the pass before they start. The O’s would have to wait to take the field against Philadelphia however, as a short rain delay preceded the game. But after that, Matt Wieters and the O’s were ready for business.

However while the game itself moved quickly, it took a bit of time for Oriole bats to get back on track against Philadelphia starter Aaron Harang. The good news was that Wei-Yin Chen matched Harang point for point. Chen’s line: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K. Chen was about as on point as a starting pitcher can be. And bear in mind that these interleague games are tough for players in the sense that they aren’t as familiar with their opponents. However needless to say, the Birds dealt with that better than did Philadelphia. 

The game was scoreless until the last of the fifth. Following two pop outs, Travis Snider doubled to left on a ball that was somewhat misplayed by left fielder Cody Asche. That brought J.J. Hardy to the plate, and his RBI-single gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead. That of course ended up being enough to win the game – but the Birds didn’t know that at the time.

One inning later we saw what a difference little things can make in games. Following a one-out single by Jimmy Paredes, Adam Jones grounded into what looked to be a double-play. However Jones hustled down the line, and Paredes made a heck of a takeout slide at second base. With one final stretch, Jones was safe at first and the play was ruled a fielder’s choice as opposed to an inning-ending double-play.

Courtesy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After a subsequent Chris Davis walk, Matt Wieters effectively ended the evening’s competitive phase with a three-run homer which ran the score to 4-0. Again, keep in mind what set that moment up. Jones hit a slow roller in the infield, and knew that he had a shot at staying out of the double-play. Jones’ speed combined with Paredes’ hard slide and Davis’ walk a moment later brought Wieters to the plate with two runners on base. 

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The homer itself is credited totally to Matt Wieters mind you, however all of those pieces put together set up those three runs being scored. Those are small things which don’ show up on a scorecard that help the team as much as anything else. They may not be the most heralded of aspects of the game, but they’re noticed by the likes of Buck Showalter and his coaches.

IF/OF Chris Parmalee had today as an opt out date in his contract, which means he could in theory leave the organization at any time if he’s not brought to the big league level. He was in the Orioles’ clubhouse before the game, and remains on the 24-hour taxi squad. My prediction is that he’s activated tomorrow, and that someone is either optioned or DFA’d. It’s unclear who that might be, however Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette might have a tough decision to make.

The series with Philadephia concludes tomorrow night with Chris Tillman on the mound for the Orioles, who will come into the game standing at 6-1 on the homestand. (After the game the teams will of course head to Philadelphia for another two-game set.) Tillman will be opposed by Philadelphia’s Jerome Williams. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

Next: Baltimore Orioles need to be careful vs. Philadelphia

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