Baltimore Orioles and Manny Machado fall in 10
Granted we thought that the Baltimore Orioles had busted out their bats on Sunday in Chicago, and with Manny Machado‘s lead off homer there was no reason to doubt that. However in a classic case of double-entendre, the Birds continued to hit-for-power last night but still saw their bats go to sleep once again. Wei-Yin Chen got the start in the twin cities, and while he gave up a couple of deep shots he also shut Minnesota down in similar fashion. Chen’s line: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 5 K.
Mark that down as another quality start for an Oriole starter. Ironically, I sometimes wonder if the starting pitching isn’t better when the Orioles seem to struggle to hit. Chen kept them in the game last night, and unfortunately gets a no decision for his efforts. Having said that, the O’s also continued their string of games where they’ve hit the ball hard, only to have opposing fielders make amazing catches on the ball – time, Minnesota center fielder Aaron Hicks.
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Machado’s aforementioned home run led off the game, and put the Birds ahead 1-0. Let me be clear; you take runs however you can get them. But the running joke in baseball when your lead off guy homers is that
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the manager says hey nice job…don’t ever do it again. The idea of course is that whomever is batting lead off should be focused upon getting on base. Again, you’ll take a home run any day. But this is partially why I would submit that Machado should be lower in the order, however in the absence of a true lead off hitter Buck Showalter has to play the cards that he has.
Of course the Birds only had the lead for a short period, because Minnesota’s Torii Hunter sent a solo shot of his own over the wall in the last of the first to knot things at one. On a side note, I like Torrii Hunter. He’s been a very solid big leaguer for a great many years, and he’s always had a certain class to him. He did have the incident earlier this season where he was ejected and ripped his uniform off, however given his longstanding record of grace I hope that fans can look past that. As Buck Showalter often says, you don’t judge someone by their worst day. And speaking for myself I’ve snapped like that more times than I care to admit, so who am I to judge?!
One inning later in the second, Minnsota had a 2-1 lead when Hicks added a solo shot to the board, and suddenly the Orioles had to play from behind. And they did so until the sixth, when Adam Jones sent a homer about as far as one could send it – he made a bid to go “Roy Hobbs,” but in the end he had to settle for hitting the foul pole – and the game was tied again.
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Most folks are naturally going to blame Tommy Hunter for this loss given the fact that he’s listed in the line score as the losing pitcher. And there does have to be some accountability there. However keep in mind that the Orioles were 0-for-8 with RISP, which isn’t going to win you many ballgames. In fairness, Minnesota was 0-for-4, however that’s easily swept under the rug when you’re the team that’s celebrating at the end.
Darren O’Day pitched a scoreless eighth, and Tommy Hunter a scoreless ninth, prior to Danny Santana getting aboard with a one-out single. That brought Brian Dozier to the plate, and his two-run homer ended the game and won it for Minnesota. Again, this is a tough loss for the O’s. However you win and lose as a team, not just because a guy like Tommy Hunter gives up a two-run homer.
The series continues tonight, as Kevin Gausman gets his second turn in the rotation since being made a de facto starting pitcher. He’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson, with game time set for just after 8 PM.
Next: All-Star Game: In a perfect world Machado starts at shortstop