Baltimore Orioles, Buck Showalter see common sense fail again


I’ve always maintained that Buck Showalter is a guy who’s betrothed to sound baseball savoire faire – and that’s a good thing for the Baltimore Orioles. Speaking for myself, I kind of manage my affairs base on common sense also. So you can imagine my reaction when I see Showalter’s sound reasoning backfire on him; I often feel it doesn’t bode well for me in my own life.

Chris Tillman provided yet another short start for an Orioles starter. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 3 K. Tillman wasn’t overly effective, but he wasn’t a total disaster either. He had a 1-0 lead after one inning after Parra’s sac fly-RBI, but Kansas City’s Perez knotted the score at one in the second with a bloop RBI-single. Yes folks, another bloop…one of the best words in Kansas City’s alphabet. It signifies a very softly hit pop up. 

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  • However the O’s were the team who got off to a strong start in this one once the teams settled in (following a three-hour rain delay). Adam Jones gave the Birds a 4-1 lead with a three-run home run in the last of the third, and things appeared to be cooking in Birdland. However Kansas City chipped away – as they love to do. Hosmer’s RBI-single in the sixth cut the Orioles’ lead to 4-2. Moustakas added a two-RBI single, and suddenly we were tied. To top things off, Perez’s two-RBI single later in the inning gave Kansas City a lead, which ran to 7-4 after Cain’s RBI-double.

    Courtesy of Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

    And that brought us to the moment of truth involving Showalter and common sense. With lefty T.J. McFarland onto pitch with runners on second and third (with one gone), the situation called for Showalter to intentionally walk Kansas City’s Morales with Moustakas (who hits from the left side) on deck. Mind you, both hitters are dangerous, and both have had their successes against the Orioles. But opting to match up in that scenario is the right thing to do.

    Unfortunately, that decision backfired. Moustakas decided that it wasn’t important out of which hand the ball was coming, and he lifted a grand slam to right field. That’s perhaps the most frustrating part of this from the Orioles’ and Buck Showalter’s standpoint. I can’t stress enough that the reasoning was sound. Thus the appearance is that Showalter made the wrong decision – for the right reason. But from the perspective of most fans, all that will be said was that the wrong decision was made.

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    The O’s did try to fight back, however. Nolan Reimold lifted a two-run homer into the grandstand in the last of the eighth. However in the top of the ninth Moustakas’ spot came up in the order again. And go figure, he had two runners on base in front of him. So after Moustakas further drove a stake through the Orioles on this night with a three-run homer, he had nine RBI on the night in the Orioles’ 14-6 loss.

    On one hand you can say that it doesn’t matter how sound the reasoning is if it fails. However on the other hand, it’s no coincidence that the idea of mathing up is considered sound reasoning. I’ve pointed this out previously, however we’ve seen what’s thought to be sound baseball savoir faire fail on the Orioles in numerous situations this year. And it’s players who are often tried and true that are doing the failing. So what gives?

    As I’ve said, I suspect that teams are ready for the Orioles’ match ups. And I wouldn’t put it past teams to perhaps work on hitting off of someone who throws from the other side in anticipation of some of these moves. But Showalter walking a heavy hitter to match up is one of the oldest tricks in the book. It’s a shame when things like that don’t work out.

    The series concludes this evening on Sunday Night Baseball, with Wei-Yin Chen on the mound for the O’s. He’ll be opposed by Kansas City’s Jonny Cueto. Game time is set for just after 8 PM – as opposed to the normal Sunday afternoon matinee, to accomodate ESPN’s national telecast.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: Some events rock the world

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