Baltimore Orioles: Oakland has never been friendly
The Baltimore Orioles fell 3-2 in Oakland, a place that seemingly has always been tough on the Birds.
The Baltimore Orioles always seem to struggle in Oakland. I’m not sure why that is, but they just do – as evidenced by last night’s 3-2 loss. Last year they actually took two-of-three out there, however in 2014 (the year they won the AL East) they dropped three-of-four.
Actually I do know why they always seem to fall on hard times out there – or I have a theory at least. Even at their absolute worst, the O’s were always designed to beat you by outscoring you. And that’s just how you’ve always won games in the American League East. Oakland is the ultimate pitcher’s park. You could grown corn in the outfield and in foul ground – that’s how cavernous it is.
In essence, what would be a home run at Camden Yards or in many other parks ends up a long fly ball out in Oakland. The ballpark itself removes the Orioles’ ability to do what they do best. Granted that’s just a theory, but call it an educated guess.
Kevin Gausman once again put the O’s in a position to win with a quality start. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K. That’s a quality start both statistically and in the sense of the term. Again keep in mind that the ballpark favors pitchers; but the O’s got exactly what they needed out of Gausman last night.
J.J. Hardy‘s RBI-single in the third inning got the Orioles on the board with a 1-0 lead. However a Vogt home run in the fourth tied the game at one. Oakland also would put runs on the board with RBI-singles in the sixth and seventh to take a 3-1 lead into the later innings. However Manny Machado decided to encore his performance on Sunday with a solo homer in the eighth last night to bring the Birds to within one.
But it wasn’t to be, as Oakland took game one, 3-2. Obviously there were two home runs in last night’s game, one of which came off of an Oriole bat. So it’s not virtually impossible to hit them out of the ballpark. But the fact is that the outfield there is where a lot of would-be home runs go to die.
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You have to adjust to play to the dimensions of every ballpark, so the Orioles aren’t about to make excuses for themselves. However the fact is that baseball’s the only sport in which the dimensions of the playing surface change from city to city. In the NFL you know that every field is going to be 100 yards, but in MLB every park has a quirk.
And quite frankly I kind of dig that in a way. Yes Oakland can be frustrating because it’s quite simply a wretched place to play as it is, and it’s so big that it knocks teams off their game. However keep in mind that in many cases the dimensions are odd because outfield walls were carved out of and into neighhorhood streets and so forth. That speaks to the roots of the game, and again I think that’s a cool feature about baseball.
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The series continues late tonight in Oakland, as the O’s hope to find some better luck with their bats. Wade Miley will make his second start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Oakland’s Zach Neal. Game time is set for just after 10 PM.