The Baltimore Orioles and Chris Davis couldn’t have asked for a better start to the west coast trip than what they got last night. In general Oakland’s been a house of horrors for the Orioles over the years, as it often can be for various slugging teams. But the O’s made themselves right at home almost right away last night as a cool breeze blew off the dock of the ‘Frisco Bay,” and what I deemed the “most important stretch of the season” got off to a good start.
The O’s of course tapped rookie Tyler Wilson to make a spot start in place of Chris Tillman (who has an injured ankle), and they got everything that they were looking for out of him. Wilson’s line: 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Like Oriole starters have been doing of late, Wilson pitched to contact. And Oakland is just the ballpark in which to do that, as the dimensons favor pitchers – big time. But then again, tell that to the Orioles’ offense.
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Wilson had a nice cushion before he even took the field; the Orioles got two runners on base – including Gerardo Parra – in the first inning. So when Chris Davis came to the plate he had an opportunity to do some damage, and he took advantage of it. Davis’ deep blast to right center field cleared the fence, giving the Orioles a 3-0 lead. And that’s exactly how the offense is supposed to function with a bat like Davis’ in there. Get a couple of guys on base, and drive ’em in with power!
Adam Jones added to the power narrative in the top of the third with an RBI-double, and an inning later Caleb Joseph‘s deep two-run homer to left field put the Birds ahead 6-0. Oakland did push a run across on Tyler Wilson in the last of the fourth on an Ike Davis RBI-single, however the Birds were in control of this game – literally from the beginning.
Perhaps one of the biggest and more unsung parts of this win was the fact in and of itself that Wilson went so deep into the game. I would submit that the Birds were more suspeptible in general in this game than the rest of the games due to the time lag. Of course they played Sunday afternoon at home, flew all the way to the west coast, and then played a game last night which according to their body clocks started at 10 PM. You never know how guys are going to react to that, especially relievers. The fact that Mychal Givens was the only bullpen pitcher that Buck Showalter had to use was big as well. It gave the rest of the ‘pen a chance to recoup after the trip.
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Jimmy Paredes smacked an RBI-double in the fifth, as did Caleb Joseph – who had a great night at the plate. Manny Machado would add an RBI-single in the eighth, and Oakland’s Stephen Voght would return the favor in the last of the inning to close out the scoring. This was a huge win in the wake of a tough loss on Sunday, combined with a long trip to a distant time zone.
Again, this has been a tough park in which the Orioles have had to play over the course of time. Granted Oakland is having a fairly lackluster season, but they do generally pitch well. And while the fact that they were able to hit two homers is promising, it’s not surprising that they put so many RBI-doubles out there. Oakland’s Coliseum is a place that will often yield those types of hits. However over time, this core group of O’s have had their share of one and two run games in that park – so for their sake, this was a promising sign.
The series continues tonight with more late-night baseball. Miguel Gonzalez gets the start for the O’s. He’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Chris Bassitt. Game time is once again set for just after 10 PM eastern time – once again folks, be sure to set your clocks for Wednesday morning!