As the Baltimore Orioles fade from a lot of fans’ mentalities about as quickly as they have faded from any playoff hopes, let’s take a look at some developments. Notice I did not say news, just developments.
Wei-Yin Chen did not develop past the fifth inning in Monday’s loss to the Yankees, and Chris Tillman did not develop past the third Sunday at Toronto. This is where the problem begins and ends. Somewhere in the middle lies the loss of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis, but the beginning and the end are both the pitching issue.
When the pitching is as disastrous as it has been for a while, with the team losing 15 of its last 19, wouldn’t the culprit each night at least get tired of answering things in the postgame interview enough to shore up his miseries? This is too old a problem not to have been addressed by now.
The Orioles have not had a starter last 6 innings in 10 games, the longest streak in baseball. As a team, their 68 sub-6-inning starts are the third-most in baseball, unless you’d want to call it third-worst.
But last night it worked out. Last night, Team Solo Homer struck again but had things break right. Kevin Gausman was not long for the party, lasting 5 and coming out after giving up an Alex Rodriguez home run in the sixth inning, but he only allowed that one run. His 103 pitches did him in. Strong relief work came from the usual suspects, T.J. Mcfarland, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton.
A solo home run just happened to be an exquisitely timely hit in this case, Chris Davis‘ opposite field shot, which put the Orioles ahead in the ninth inning and set up Britton’s save.
Excuse me, make that about-to-be-a-lot-richer Chris Davis.
Just as unusual, or maybe not, was winning in spite of missing Adam Jones, who got the night off with his body suffering from a laundry list of maladies. Gerardo Parra played center, Davis played right, Ryan Flaherty first base, and Nolan Reimold left field. As much as this may approach heresy, playing without Jones may have been addition by subtraction on this night.
Was a healthy body in the lineup and in the field indirectly responsible for the win? We shall see if one night off was enough to heal Jones’ shoulder and wrist from here on out. The Orioles wind it up in the Bronx tonight, with Ubaldo Jimenez facing C.C. Sabathia, and then return home to face Kansas City this weekend.