Baltimore Orioles let one get away despite Pedro Alvarez
Pedro Alvarez smacked two two-run home runs last night, but the bullpen was unable to hold the lead as the Birds fell to San Diego, 10-7.
Pedro Alvarez smacked a pair of two-run home runs last night – in the Baltimore Orioles’ 10-7 loss to San Diego. The Orioles’ bullpen of course is supposed to be the strength of the team. However when injuries and in some cases overuse change the dynamic in the ‘pen, it’s not going to function the way it was intended.
Tyler Wilson battled through a couple of struggles, but pitched six solid innings and left the team in a position to win. WIlson’s line: 6 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K. That’ a quality start by the numbers. And as I’ve said many times, that’s really all you can ask of a starter.
With San Diego already leading 1-0, Adam Jones‘ RBI-double in the last of the third tied the score at one. A Kim RBI-single later in the inning gave the O’s a 2-1 lead. At this point of course you’re figuring that the O’s are out of the gates and moving in this game. The fact is they were – but so was their opponent.
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However a homer by Norris and an RBI-single off the bat of Norris in the fourth gave San Diego the lead back. These two teams don’t see one another too often, but San Diego proved to be Tampa or Kansas City-like in the sense that they just don’t go away. They had an answer for everything the Orioles threw at them. And that included Alvarez’s pair of two-run homers – one in the fourth and one in the fifth.
Those homers gave the Birds a 6-3 lead. But the changed dynamic in the Orioles’ pen and San Diego’s pesky nature was a dangerous mixutre. The Orioles brought Mychal Givens in to pitch the seventh – in a spot where they might normally use the likes of Brach (who had worked twice over the weekend and still needed rest). Heck, they might have even used the likes of O’Day in that spot perhaps – but he’s on the DL.
After giving up an RBI-single to Solarte to cut the lead to 6-4, Givens loaded the bases. A walk and a wild pitch later, and suddenly San Diego had flipped the script and they led 7-6. They would add three additional runs in the top of the ninth, and Alvarez would add an RBI-single as the Birds fell 10-7.
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If you’re the Orioles, you can accept those types of growing pains here and there from the likes of Givens (and Oliver Drake, who relieved Givens in the middle of the seventh – all runs charged to Givens, however). Both Givens and Drake are young pitchers trying to find their way. However it’s the fact that both pitchers were used in that situation that probably hurt more than anything else. If the Orioles’ pen had been at it’s full capacity, it’s Brach or O’Day in that spot. And thus it’s probably a different game.
Incidentally, Buck Showalter echoed those sentiments after the game when asked about Givens (quote courtesy of Brittany Ghiroli, mlb.com):
"Early on, he’s being a little reactive instead of proactive with his outings some. It’s one of those things that young pitchers learn from. Try to keep in mind he hasn’t been pitching more than two or three years. It’s a learning experience for him. We’ve got a lot of guys learning the job without much Major League experience, with Tyler [Wilson] being one of them."
You also have to tip your cap on occasion in this game. As I said, San Diego pressed the issue at every turn in this game. Even the likes of Britton allowed three runs in the ninth inning, although two were unearned due to an error. But again, that’s the type of thing that can happen when the bullpen isn’t used the way it was designed – for whatever reason (in this case injuries).
Next: Baltimore Orioles' rally falls short in Texas heat
The O’s will conclude this short two-game set with San Diego tonight at Camden Yards. They will most probably make a roster move today for the bullpen, because they’re having to dip into the pen for tonight’s starter. Ubaldo Jimenez will return to the rotation tonight to make the start (in a surprise move), and he’ll be opposed by San Diego’s Erik Johnson. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.