Orioles: Moving Past a Game Only Earl Weaver Would Love

The storyline was a familiar one – actually the latest chapter of what I wrote about HERE just yesterday – that the critical inning in the game is that one where the starting pitcher for the O’s is just about on empty. So, it is sadly most often the 5th or 6th frame, though once in a while it makes it to the 7th inning.

In any event, at the bottom of the tank even the smallest of items becomes the cow of Mrs. O’Leary that knocks over the lantern that starts a small fire that turns into an inferno that burns down any previous lead and ends with the Orioles in a heap of ashes.

  • The O’Leary cow in Toronto on Tuesday night was a Steve Lombardozzi error to begin the bottom of the 6th. A single quickly followed, and soon a three-run bomb by Encarnacion tied the score at three.
  • The O’Leary cow in Boston on Monday was a blown call by the plate ump that put a runner on first in the 5th, followed by a single, double, sac fly, double … and the Sox were off to the races.
  • The O’Leary cow in Boston on Sunday was a one-out solid single by David Ortiz, followed by a walk, followed by a … yes … three-run homer.

Take the 6th inning out of Orioles games in the past year or so, and they might have the best record in baseball.

How can this be addressed? Would $50 million fix it? Apparently not. Painful truth – there may not be an immediate fix. The Orioles have now gone to a 13-man pitching staff to add an arm to the bullpen. This is a good move. Taking the new guy (T.J. McFarland) out after one inning pitched on the day that he would normally be starting would seem to be a move entirely contrary to the whole reason for adding a 13th arm!

I want to get to the pitching/hitting matchups for tonight, but I feel compelled to say that the problems of late are not limited to the starting pitching. Yes, it all begins there – but it always does, so that is not saying anything new or novel. An inability to tack on runs and a RISP of 1-for-9 is just about equally to blame on this Orioles team at this point of time. I’ve been there in the past as a pitcher on a team struggling to score as many runs as would be expected from the talent on the roster. As a pitcher in that scenario, you feel like you have no margin at all, and you get out of your game strengths and in an abundance of caution try to be more perfect than you truly can … well, the next thing you know, YOU make a mistake over the middle of the plate. Boom!

The Orioles need an extended effort from a starter, and just the man to do that takes the ball tonight in the person of Chris Tillman. It may be an overstatement to call him an “ace,” but, he’s as close as we’ve got right now. Over his four starts this season he is 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA.

Over Tillman’s 11-start career against the Blue Jays he is 3-4 with a 3.42 ERA. And actually, with only 60 hits in 71.1 innings, it is the long ball (13 total) that has hurt him. Sorry to bring that up after last night’s experience!

Against Toronto hitters, of course Edwin Encarnacion has done well, along with Jose Bautista. But that pest, Colby Rasmus, is 6-for-17 with two homers … weird!

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Edwin Encarnacion

28

8

1

0

1

1

1

3

.286

Jose Bautista

20

6

1

0

2

4

3

8

.300

Colby Rasmus

17

6

2

0

2

4

0

2

.353

Brett Lawrie

16

3

0

0

1

1

0

3

.188

Ryan Goins

9

1

0

0

0

1

0

4

.111

Moises Sierra

4

1

1

0

0

2

2

0

.250

Dioner Navarro

5

1

0

0

0

1

0

1

.200

 

Dustin McGowan will be taking the hill for the Jays. This will be his fourth start of the season. McGowan was really roughed up by both the Yankees and the Twins, but threw 6.1 innings of shutout in his other start – yes, in a win against the Orioles on April 11th. That is his only victory ever against Baltimore, with a 1-3 lifetime record on an ERA of 5.98.

W

L

ERA

S

G

GS

IP

H

R

ER

HR

K

1

3

5.98

0

14

7

43.2

55

32

29

6

25

 

Here are his stats against current Orioles hitters. The record is not very extensive. Adam Jones is 4-for-8, while most others have struggled in this small sample size.

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Delmon Young

15

2

0

0

0

1

1

4

.133

Nick Markakis

13

2

0

0

0

0

2

2

.154

Nelson Cruz

7

1

1

0

0

0

0

2

.143

Adam Jones

8

4

1

0

0

1

0

0

.500

Matt Wieters

6

0

0

0

0

0

1

1

.000

Chris Davis

3

1

0

0

0

0

2

0

.333

Ryan Flaherty

3

1

0

0

1

1

1

0

.333

J.J. Hardy

5

1

1

0

0

1

0

2

.200

Steve Lombardozzi

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

Jonathan Schoop

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

.333

Steve Clevenger

1

1

1

0

0

2

0

0

1.000

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Chris Tillman

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