I suppose the glass half-full story of yesterday’s no-hitter is that it is just one game. The Baltimore Orioles have gained on the Yankees since July 28, when the Yanks led the AL East by 7 games.
Except now the Blue Jays have taken over first place. The Orioles let two games get away on nights the Yankees lost, the same Yankees who were hotter than hot for quite a while. Now it’s the Blue Jays who are hot, winning their 10th in a row last night. They conclude their series with the A’s today and then host the Yankees this weekend. The Jays are 10-1 in August and have lost only once since trading for Troy Tulowitzki.
So that’s who the Orioles have to catch, and they won’t do it unless they somehow or other manage to get equally hot. They’ve done that once this season, when they pulled into a first-place tie some time back, but that seems like a memory now.
Reality is that Matt Wieters came up with a hamstring strain Tuesday night and sat out yesterday’s game along with J.J. Hardy. Wieters will never be mistaken for an intimidating hitter, and Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma probably didn’t jump for joy upon seeing Caleb Joseph‘s and Ryan Flaherty‘s names in the Orioles’ lineup. He was simply magical all day and would have gotten anybody out.
The Orioles, who have become just as good at tipping their caps to an opposing pitcher as any other facet of their game, had to do so again. Kevin Gausman pitched a credible game, giving up only three runs, and he is not the first Orioles pitch to suffer from lack of support this season. But his teammates being no-hit is a different story. Their home-run-or-nothing offense literally showed its “nothing” side.
Wieters’ contract has been a long-range concern in addition to his health throughout the season. His lukewarm bat for most of the time he has been active led to the possibility – unconfirmed – that he may want to negotiate a one-year deal this offseason, come back strong next year, and go for the big money after 2016. His hamstring issue clouds things a bit, reducing the number of teams that would want to throw money at him.
The Orioles’ short-term problems begin with the A’s in a 3-game set at Camden Yards this weekend, and sleeping in their own beds might help matters, but putting yesterday behind them, one of the oldest sayings in the game, will be important. Wieters’ status may not be known until Friday afternoon.
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