Baltimore Orioles lifted to victory by J.J. Hardy’s homer


Perhaps more than any other sport, baseball highlights people like J.J. Hardy of the Baltimore Orioles in terms of being clutch. When one thinks of the players who come through consistently with the game on the line, Hardy is as good as Adam Jones or anyone else. And I won’t lie, there’s a part of me that’s jealous of anyone who can consistently come through with everything on the line – it seems I don’t have that gene!

Wei-Yin Chen further proved his point last night when it comes to the question of whether or not he should or shouldn’t have gone to the minor leagues. Chen’s line: 8 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K. I say that a bit in jest if you will; everyone knows why Chen went to the minors – more so because he had options and the O’s needed a roster spot than anything else. But the fact is that of late he’s come on strong, and is looking to anchor the Orioles’ rotation in the second half. 

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Call to the Pen

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  • However this game was once again about home runs – solo home runs early on at that. Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Rua each homered in the third and fourth innings to give Texas a 2-0 lead. However early in the night it seemed that the ball just wasn’t carrying off of Oriole bats. Where as Choo and Rua’s homers seemed to carry and carry – and then carry more, Oriole drives landed innocently in Texas gloves on the warning track.

    But the Birds seemed to finally get back on track in the last of the fourth. Jimmy Paredes cut the Texas lead in half with a solo homer. Two innings later in the sixth he grounded into a force out with Ryan Flaherty on third base, and suddenly we were tied at two.

    By this time Chen had shaken off the two solo homers, and was in a groove. He mowed down Texas hitters left and right, bringing the Orioles into the later innings. And it’s exactly that type of shutdown quality that Buck Showalter loves in Chen. Granted he’s a flyball pitcher, however for the most part he records outs. At that point it was just a matter of getting the lead, and the O’s needed a clutch player to step up.

    Chris Davis opened the last of the seventh with a single, which brought Hardy to the plate following a Chris Parmelee pop out. With the count even up at one,

    Courtesy of Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

    Hardy got a pitch he liked and smacked the ball deep into the night towards left center. The Orioles had found their clutch player on this night, and with him a 4-2 lead.

    That 4-2 lead turned into a 4-2 victory after Zach Britton shut down Texas by striking out the side in the ninth inning. Bear in mind that Chen also pitched eight innings, which hopefully for the Orioles shores up the bullpen a bit after a longer outing on Tuesday evening. Prior to the game the Orioles called up Tyler Wilson from Norfolk, so as of right now the bullpen is fully staffed at seven relievers. 

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    In order to make room for Wilson, the Birds had to designate Delmon Young for assignment. They now risk losing him to another team, although they’ll have ten days to trade him if they’re able. Young’s been a solid player for the O’s, and his heroics in game two of the ALDS last year won’t soon be forgotten. But this move wasn’t overly surprising. J.J. Hardy spoke about it in the clubhouse following the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski of MASNsports):

    "It’s tough. He was a great teammate. Fun to be around and great player. Pinch-hitter off the bench and playing great in the field this year, too. A guy everyone likes in here, and he’s definitely going to be missed."

    Unfortunately as Hardy and everyone else knows, this is part of the game. The Birds will have another tough roster decision coming up today as they’ll call up Kevin Gausman to make the start tonight against Texas. Does Wilson go right back to the minors? That’s certainly a possibility, and as I’ve suggested perhaps Bud Norris could then slide into that bullpen slot. Regardless of what happens, it’s not going to be an easy decision.

    The Orioles will finish their series against Texas tonight hoping for a split. The aforementioned Kevin Gausman will get the start, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Yovani Gallardo. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

    Next: Orioles News: All Star Hopefuls Buried In Voters Eyes

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