The Baltimore Orioles dropped their first game of 2016, however reliever Tyler Wilson was as impressive as impressive can be out of the bullpen.
The Baltimore Orioles were going to lose a game eventually. Everyone felt it coming at some point – even Tyler Wilson in the bullpen! But more on him in a moment. You’d be hard-pressed to say that the O’s slacked off in the Boston series simply because they lost a game. They still swept their first two series’, taking two-of-three in the third one.
It was a chilly night at Fenway Park, and while that was the case in the first two games also, it may have added to the sluggishness of Oriole bats. Luckily for the Birds, that will cease to be the case because they’re in Texas for the weekend. Nevertheless, Ubaldo Jimenez wasn’t quite as sharp as he was in his first outing – but Fenway will do that to you. Jimenez’s line: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 5 K.
Let’s put it this way; Jimenez probably put the Orioles in a position to win the game. The bats just didn’t come through last night. However he didn’t have his extra-good stuff, and that’s going to happen on some nights. I’ve said this many times, but pitchers will have ten good stards, ten bad, and ten somewhere in between over the course of the season. Mark this one as in between.
The O’s actually had a 2-0 lead early in the game, as Chris Davis smacked a two-run homer in the top of the third. Perhaps the most impressive part of that was the fact that he hit the ball over the green monster in left field. Davis does on occasion muscle balls into the seats going the opposite way, so it’s not necessarily an anamoly. However the fact that he was able to do it on a cold night in a park like Fenway means he’s really seeing the ball well, and that his timing is spot on right now.
However the lead was short-lived for the Birds. Boston would tie it up in the last of that same third inning on a Bogaerts two-RBI double. In the fourth inning they would take a 3-2 lead on an RBI-triple by Bradley, and they proceeded to extend that lead to 4-2 when Betts grounded out with a runner on third. Ironically, for a gae that was relatively “low-scoring,” it certainly took awhile to complete!
But to me, the story of the night for the O’s was Wilson. He tossed three scoreless innings, giving up two hits and striking out two. Furthermore on a night when the starter only went five innings, he really did a service for his fellow bullpen relievers by closing out the game. Going into a park like that of Texas, that could make a huge difference.
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Sometimes even in a loss you can find small victories. Wilson’s performance last night was one of those, as I said especially going into Texas. Wilson’s catcher last night, Caleb Joseph, had nothing but praise for the young pitcher (quote courtesy of Ian Browne and Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com):
"He deserves a lot of credit. That’s a really, really tough job against a lot of big names over there, a good offense. Tyler, he’s prepared. He’s going to be engaged at all times. He came out and pounded the strike zone, kept us within arm’s reach of the game. Any time you can do that, look, that’s one of the hardest jobs in baseball, to come out and be that kind of long-relief guy who can really keep your team in the game. Kudos to him. He did a fantastic job."
The O’s did commit a few gaffes on the base paths, with both Hardy and Machado running into outs at third base. Showalter’s philosophy is that if a player “feels” the ability to stretch a double into a triple or something of the like, they should go for it. You never know if it’s the right decision until the play is over; in those cases, it obviously wasn’t the right decision. However indecisiveness will often cause more mistakes than aggressiveness.
The Orioles now go onto Texas to open up a four-game weekend set. Chris Tillman will take the mound tonight for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Cole Hamels. Game time is set for just after 8 PM this evening.