Baltimore Orioles: Are the O’s playing not-to-lose?
The Baltimore Orioles fell apart in the sixth inning last night against Boston, dropping their third straight. The O’s fell 5-1 to the BoSox.
The Baltimore Orioles have all but rolled over and played dead against Boston this week. Last night they were plugging along with a 1-0 lead until the sixth inning, when Boston seemingly took control of the game. So in looking at the title of this morning’s article, I pose an interesting question about playing not-to-lose…
…which is a game that’s seemingly played in European soccer quite often. In round robin tournaments often times if both teams are advancing alreay the two coaches will wink at each other and and their teams will play fairly vanilla. What’s the point of trying to go all out and win when all you have to do is not lose? It’s a bit different in a sport like baseball – there are no ties.
The fact is that you can’t play not-to-lose in American sports the way one can in Europe. However it seems that the Orioles have had losing on their minds this week. By that, I mean that they’ve played so tight because they’re afraid of making a mistake and losing. They know how fine a line it is to toe in MLB – between winning and losing. But take it from me…both in baseball and in life, if you’re so afraid to lose that all you do is play it safe, your worst fears will come true.
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched fairly well last night, as has been his trend.. Jimenez’s line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R (0 earned), 4 BB, 8 K. I use this term often, but he put the Orioles in a position to win the game. They just couldn’t take advantage of that. And the Orioles actually had the lead in this game at 1-0, on Adam Jones sac fly-RBI in the third.
However the Orioles went 0-for-3 with RISP, which is why I question if they weren’t playing not-to-lose. Let me be clear; I’m NOT questioning the effort in any shake of the imagination. I recognize how hard it is to win a major league game, and that’s why the fact that the Orioles are going to finish with a winning record once again is such an impressive feat. But I also suspect that they thought they could win this game 1-0 past a certain point. And against a team like Boston, that’s a dangerous thought.
Chris Davis committed a two-run error in the sixth which immediately gave Boston the lead for good. Again, the pressure to win can sometimes cause mistakes to happen. Andrew Benintendi also smacked a three-run homer later in the inning, and that’s your ballgame. Even Boston’s September call-ups are becoming major contributors, which is a dangerous thing for a team like the Orioles.
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So the Orioles need to in effect throw caution to the wind and do whatever they need to do to win this final game tonight. Within reason, that is. You can’t ever totally throw caution to the wind – baseball is still a thinking man’s game more than anything else. But they might want to consider stepping out of their comfort zone a bit. Because other teams are out there nipping at their heels.
Next: Baltiore Orioles: Kevin Gausman gave in on one pitch
The series concludes this evening at Camden Yards. The Orioles will ask Chris Tillman to be their stopper, and he’ll be opposed by David Price. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.