Baltimore Orioles and Adam Jones out slugged by Washington
Yesterday I talked about how Friday night the Baltimore Orioles and Adam Jones were in effect forced to play the National League game – until winning in walk off fashion, of course. Last night’s game against Washington had many of those same components as well. In general, American League teams (outside of the AL Central, that is) don’t piecemeal runs together one-by-one. That’s just not how things generally work. However with a few exceptions, Washington has forced the Orioles to do that; however last night they also tricked the Birds into losing at their own game as well.
Miguel Gonzalez pitched better than the statistics indicate in my view. Gonzalez’s line: 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 4 K. Gonzalez gave up two runs early, and then retired ten straight hitters before coming undone in the top of the sixth. And that in and of itself shows you what a volatile spot in which pitchers can find themselves. In hindsight it’s easy to say that Gonzalez should been pulled after five. However is it really fair to a manager (Buck Showalter, in this case) to say that about a guy who had retired ten straight?
The Orioles found themselves with runners at second and third right off the bat following a single and a double to lead off the game. After an Adam Jones flyout which didn’t move the runners, Jimmy Paredes got a run home on a fielder’s choice. This shows how overly dedicated we can be to statistics at times. As I said above, Gonzalez pitched better than his stats indicate. But that RBI-fielder’s choice goes down as not getting a hit with runners in scoring position. But yet it still yielded the Birds a run.
One way or the other, the O’s had an early lead; but it wasn’t to last. Following a walk and two singles, Washington had the bases loaded. Again, note what I just said; they got their baserunners on one by one, or piece by piece. That’s how NL teams often play, and for a time they were forcing the Orioles to do the same thing. However Gonzalez induced Ian Desmond to ground into a double-play. While that tied the game, it also left Washington with two outs. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, Michael Taylor would shoot an RBI-single to center before the end of the inning, and the Orioles trailed 2-1.
If you give teams base runners, they’re going to have a better opportunity to beat you. But the Orioles weren’t done yet either. J.J. Hardy shot a one-out single to right in the last of the second, and following a Ryan Flaherty strikeout Caleb Joseph tattered a 2-1 pitch into the Orioles’ bullpen to give the Birds the lead back at 3-2. That lead expanded to 4-2 in the last of the fourth when Steve Pearce added a solo home run.
Courtesy of Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
So with the homers flying out of the yard, it appeared that we were back to American League baseball. Unfortunately for the Orioles, Washington seemed to get this memo also. As I said, Miguel Gonzalez retired ten straight hitters from the second inning on. That ended in the top of the sixth when Bryce Harper hammered a pitch deep to right which cut the Orioles’ lead to 4-3. Washington would also follow with two singles, and then Danny Espinosa would smack a three-run bomb out of the yard, and suddenly the Orioles trailed again at 6-4.
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This chased Gonzalez from the game; enter Chaz Roe, who picked up right where Gonzalez left off prior to the homer parade. He shut Washington down for two innings, as did Tommy Hunter after Roe. Hunter did allow one run in the top of the ninth, however it came on a bloop RBI-single by Michael Taylor. The Orioles played the infield in with a runner at third, and Taylor blooped the ball to where first baseman Steve Pearce would have potentially been able to get it had the Birds not been playing the infield in.
Hunter gets criticized a lot, however he was very effective in two innings of relief in this game for the Orioles. The issue was that they were outslugged at their own game in effect. They were able to get the tying run to the plate in the last of the ninth, but Chris Parmelee and Adam Jones each flied out. However the good news for the Orioles is that they made Washington closer Drew Storen work in that ninth inning. Washington had to use a total of four relievers in the game, as opposed to the Orioles’ two. So that combined with a tough ninth for Storen (their closer) might figure into things for today’s series finale.
Unfortunately for the Birds, they’re set to face Max Scherzer this afternoon, who often doesn’t need relief from his bullpen. However if the Orioles take that type of attitude – oh my how are we going to even get a hit off of this guy? – they’re going to lose. They have to play their game, and just focus on putting the ball in play. The Orioles will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound this afternoon, and he’ll be opposed of course by the aforementioned Scherzer. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.
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