Baltimore Orioles, Bud Norris fall to Chicago heroics
The Baltimore Orioles are starting to find themselves in situations where they’re getting great pitching – this time from both Chris Tillman and Bud Norris – but no run support. However the good news is that in yesterday’s 3-2 loss to Chicago, Oriole bats found a way to get back on track late in the game. They came back in the game, had Chicago take the lead, and then almost came back again. For their sake, one has to hope that bodes well going into tomorrow.
Chris Tillman got no run support and no breaks in yesterday’s game – and in my personal view he pitched very well. Tillman’s line: 4.2 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K. Tillman found himself in trouble at various points, but always managed to get out of it. His innings pitched is very deceiving; he was lifted due to a high pitch count. And contrary to what a Chicago radio station tweeted at me during the game, Tillman should not have been pulled after two innings, and in fact he put the team in a position to win.
That Balls Outta Here
I mentioned Tillman’s luck above; it started suspect from the beginning. With out out in the first inning Jose Abreu hit what would have probably been a single down the right field line. However the ball smacked off of the ball boy sitting down the line – something that was missed by the umpiring crew. Abreu ended up at second base, went to third on a Cabrera base hit, and then scored on what was ruled an RBI-single by Garcia.
I say what was ruled an RBI-single because Garcia sent a shot up the middle that ticked off of Ryan Flaherty‘s glovve. Granted it was a tough angle, however Flaherty would be the first to tell you he should have had that ball – which would have ended the inning. This entire sequence also elevated Tillman’s pitch count; while he got out of the inning only trailing 1-0, he threw 26 pitches. While it’s easy to suggest that the incident with the ball boy sounds like an excuse for Tillman, that was a huge break for Chicago.
Tillman motored through both the third and fourth, allowing runners on base and even into scoring position, but always pitching out of it. However Melky Cabrera‘s sac fly-RBI gave the ChiSox a 2-0 lead. However Buck Showalter went to the bullpen with two outs, and brought “former starter” Bud Norris in to relieve Tillman. And Norris was about as solid as one could be, holding Chicago scoreless through the eighth inning. Granted one appearance in relief doesn’t make a career, however needless to say Norris kept the Orioles in the game and was incredibly effective – not even giving up a hit.
However the issue is and has been the Orioles’ offense. They just couldn’t get anything together, once again running into some solid starting pitching – this time by Chicago’s Jeff Samardjiza. The Birds didn’t even
Courtesy of Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
register a hit until the sixth when Ryan Flaherty hit a two-out single. Flaherty would later walk in the eighth, at which point Chicago changed pitchers. In the next at-bat with an 0-1 count, Manny Machado appeared to cure the Orioles’ woes with a two-run homer that tied the game.
That’s pretty clutch on Machado’s part; the problem of course was that Chicago was refusing to lose on this day. With a runner at second, J.B. Shuck was brought in to pinch-hit against Darren O’Day. And it was Shuck’s RBI-double which gave Chicago the lead back at 3-2. The kicker for the Orioles was that Bud Norris, who had just given way to O’Day in the game, had walked the runner that eventually scored the go-ahead run. So Norris, who didn’t give up a hit during his time in the game, was responsible for that runner and thus took the loss.
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But there at one point appeared to be redemption for this Orioles team on this day. With one out in the ninth, Chris Davis sent a deep shot to right field, which had home run written all over it. And I can’t stress that enough; it literally was a home run. Yet Avisail Garcia literally reached over the wall and brought the ball back into the park to save a homer for Chicago. It was a great play on Garcia’s part, however it just personified the idea of doing everything you can and still not succeeding.
This was a tough loss for the Birds, however as I said above the good news is that the bats started to show signs of life at the end. After the game the Orioles optioned Ryan Flaherty to triple-A Norfolk, and presumably they will active Jonathan Schoop from the DL in advance of tomorrow’s game. Schoop of course has been out since April with a knee injury. Flaherty will remain with the team, and is expected to be called back up early this week when Nolan Reimold is expected to go on the paternity list. Flaherty may well be tagged for Norfolk (simply because he has options), but not until Reimold returns to say the least.
The Orioles will try to salvage one win in this three-game set this afternoon in Chicago. Miguel Gonzalez will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Carlos Rodon of Chicago. Game time is set for just after 2 PM.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Gausman to Chicago, Bud Norris pushed back