Game 31 – Baltimore Orioles (17-14) 4 Tampa Bay Rays (15-19) 3 F
W: Ryan Webb (1-0, 4.97)
L: Brandon Gomes (2-2, 3.71)
S: Tommy Hunter (10, 2.84)
MVP: Jonathan Schoop 1-4, 2 RBI, 1 HR, 1 R, Several very nice plays in the field
The GOOD: It is always good when it is tough to pick an MVP. Tonight that was the case, choosing between Schoop and Adam Jones. But, the Orioles pride themselves on defense, and Schoop was sensational while Jones had a throwing error.
Jones had two solo home runs on the first two pitches he saw in the game. A great sign for the Orioles that AJ’s bat may be heating up. Schoop added a big two-run HR in the 7th inning with two outs on a ball rocketed on a line to left.
Caleb Joseph did a real good job behind the plate in his major league debut. Here is a guy who has toiled in the minors for years, and was known as a good hitter, but there were questions about his defense. Well he called a great game Wednesday night. The only miscue was on the ball Jones got an error on, it got by Joseph because he tried to rush and field it and make a tag.
Speaking of sensational defense, Manny Machado. He looked merely human on Tuesday at the Trop, but Wednesday he made several nice plays. One was a ball that he charged and threw to second, barely beating the runner. The other was a diving stop in foul territory to help keep the Rays from scoring in the inning.
Bud Norris had another solid start. Once again, the Orioles didn’t get the depth they need from their starters, with Norris only going 5.2 innings. However, he only left up two runs, and one was after he came out of the game. He also only allowed 3 hits, although his walk total was high at 4.
The BAD: Tommy Hunter may not earn the moniker ‘Full-pack,’ like the one older Oriole fans used to give closer Don Stanhouse, but Half-pack may be appropriate. Hunter continues to fill the bases, yet work his way out of jams to pick up the save. And as long as that keeps happening, O’s fans will live with it. But tonight he did leave up a run before bearing down and getting the last two outs.
Nelson Cruz may have had his worst night as an Oriole, going 0-4 with 2 Ks. However, I think all Orioles fans will forgive that.
What’s NEXT: The Baltimore Orioles will send Ubaldo Jimenez (1-4, 5.19) to the mound on Thursday as they go for the sweep. Countering for the Rays will be ace David Price (3-2, 4.44). Neither pitcher has had the type of start they hoped for, so both will look to throw up zeros on the scoreboard on Thursday night. Ubaldo’s best outing as an Oriole came his last time out, so he will look to build off that. The game is scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m. from Tropicana Field.