The Baltimore Orioles seemed up against the entire world yesterday due to the rain and Houston’s resilience against seemingly all odds.
If there was an upper hand to have yesterday, I thought the Baltimore Orioles had it over Houston. After a four plus hour rain delay to even get the game in and a thirty minute delay after just one inning, it seemed to me that the O’s were the more likely of the two teams to win the game. After all, it was getaway day for Houston and they were the road team. If you’re going to have to deal with the elements, it’s probably better to do so in your home park.
However I underestimated the fact that Houston’s one of these teams that literally lets nothing bother them. They’ve had the Orioles number for the past few years, and I’m not sure why I thought the rain would make things any different this time around. In football they say that the weather is the great equalizer – but Houston seemed to thrive off of it whereas the O’s found themselves stuck in the mud.
Yovani Gallardo fought through the adverse conditions and left his team in a position to win. Gallardo’s line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 earned) 3 BB, 3 K. Houston actually used the weather to their advantage, whereas the O’s seemed to battle it. In the fourth Correa got on with an infield hit on the wet grass. The O’s seemed content that with the infield being wet he wouldn’t try to steal – but he did, and successfully at that. Reed’s RBI-single later in the inning would give Houston a 1-0 lead.
As a small ball team, Houston’s easy to underestimate. They don’t have the glitz and flash of the Orioles – but they also seem to take underestimations very personally. Yet they were also able to use the Orioles’ aggression against them, inducing swing-and-misses on fringe pitches all day and all weekend. Several Orioles yesterday openly questioned the strike zone, as Houston was nibbling on the corners – and getting the strike calls. The Orioles nibbled also, but not with the same results.
Jonathan Schoop‘s solo homer in the last of the fourth tied the game at one, but only briefly. Again, Houston wasn’t flustered by nary anything. Altuve’s RBI-single in the fifth gave them the lead back at 2-1, and Correa’s RBI-double broke the game wide open at 4-1. That RBI-double was actually a line drive to Chris Davis (who was playing right field), and he seemed to lose it in the lights and it ticked off his glove. Again, every weird bounce or play in this series went Houston’s way.
Adam Jones would bring the O’s back to within two in the last of the fifth with an RBI-single. Initially he stretched it into a double but Houston challenged the fact that he ha come off the bag, and he was ruled out. One inning later Schoop was called out at first and there did in fact appear to be video evidence that would have upheld an Oriole challenge, but the call was upheld. The O’s were as lucky in replays this weekend as they were on the field.
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Houston would add a solo homer in the eighth, and Mark Trumbo one of his own in the last of the ninth. However it was too little too late, and the Orioles fell once again 5-3 at the hands of small-ball Houston. Its tough to imagine how a team who has so much less power than the Orioles could dominate them so much. However that’s been the case the past few seasons since Houston’s been in the American League; they’ve just had the Orioles’ number.
I mentioned the replay reviews above, and that had to be incredibly frustrating for the O’s. Jones was ruled out at second with what appeared NOT to be conclusive video evidence to overturn the call on the field. The attitude almost appeared to be he could have been out so we’ll go with that. Schoop on the other hand appeared to be safe in the sixth inning, yet there apparently wasn’t sufficient video evidence to overturn the call on the field. Chris Davis was the final batter of the game, and he was called out at first base on a bang-bang play. That call was upheld on review.
That final play involving Davis was the wrong call in fact, but correct in accordance with the rules. The rule is that there has to be concise evidence to overturn the call on the field. Davis appeared to get to the bag at the same time as the ball – a tie is supposed to go to the runner. However there wasn’t video evidence that he had beaten the ball to first base. So the call justifiably stood. While the Orioles did themselves no favors, neither did any of the breaks that you have to sometimes get in games to win.
The Orioles now open up the Battle of the Beltways with Washington coming to town for two games starting tonight. Dylan Bundy will be on the mound for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Washington’s Stephen Strasburg. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.