Baltimore Orioles: Sound reasoning gets another early shower
Consistently doing the right thing strategically and having it fail has to be a tough pill to swallow for the Baltimore Orioles. In many cases this year we’ve seen Buck Showalter make moves in games, only to have them backfire on the Birds. In last night’s game, things probably ended up worse than they would have had the Orioles done the wrong thing (and failed).
The O’s sent Tyler Wilson to the mound last night in a starting role, and with some mixed results. Wilson’s line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Wilson had decent command early, but fell apart after Tampa was able to adjust. Wilson had an early 3-0 lead, as J.J. Hardy smacked a three-run homer in the second inning. However Tampa’s Beckham hit a two-run shot in the last of the inning, which left the score at 3-2.
Showalter made his common sense call with one down and two runners in scoring position in the fifth – he intentionally walked Evan Longoria. Again, I just can’t stress enough that this was good sound baseball reasoning. Longoria’s a heavy hitter, and Sizemore (who was on deck) was much more likely to hit into a double-play. The idea is to stay out of a big inning, and the O’s did the right thing in pitching to Sizemore instead of Longoria…
Courtesy of Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
…the only problem was that Sizemore didn’t get the memo that he wasn’t supposed to do what he ended up doing. Not only did that backfire on the Orioles, but it backfired three-fold. Sizemore hit a bases-clearing triple to give Tampa a 5-3 lead. Let’s use revisionist history for just a moment and say that they had done the “wrong thing” and pitched to Longoria. Had he gotten a base hit, only two runs would have scored; instead by doing the right thing, three runs scored. Yeah, that seems fair from the Orioles’ perspective.
And it got worse from there before it got better. Loney and Franklin each added RBI-doubles, and when the smoke cleared the Orioles trailed 8-3. Franklin’s double was especially tough to swallow for the Birds, as it was a lazy pop fly that barely made it out of the infield. Schoop thought that Jones would come in from third to get the ball, but he was unable to make it that far.
Steve Pearce tried to single-handedly bring the Orioles back, but it wasn’t enough. His two-run homer in the sixth got them to within 8-5, and his solo shot in the ninth made it 8-6. But Tampa had poured too much on in that fifth inning and they went onto victory.
Again, I can’t stress enough that Showalter did the right thing by the book when he walked Longoria. It’s really a shame when you see those moves backfire, because it sends a message that the book in essence should be thrown out. A good manager always thinks several hitters down the line and tries to figure out what he’s going to do in a given situation. However opponents are seeming only to focus on getting on base in the here and now – and that’s hampering the O’s as much as anything.
The series continues this evening, knotted up at one. Wei-Yin Chen will take to the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Erasmo Ramirez. Game time is set for just after 6 PM.
Next: Orioles: It's Wilson's Turn to Keep up Wild Card Push