The Baltimore Orioles have now played three of the five games during which third baseman Manny Machado will be serving his suspension time. This has the effect of opening the door for super-sub Ryan Flaherty to get some playing time.
Though the Orioles used Chris Davis at third base on Monday night, Flaherty has gotten the call the past two evenings. He has gone 2-for-5 with two walks, scoring two runs and hitting the tie-breaking and ultimately game-winning RBI home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to power the Birds to their 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers.
The victory is gratifying on several fronts. After falling behind 4-0 in the third inning, Adam Jones began the comeback with a solo shot in the fourth. The Orioles clawed and scrounged their way to tie the game in the sixth frame, setting up Flaherty’s no-doubter bomb in the seventh.
On various Orioles sites comment boards I often see Ryan Flaherty referred to as “Flaredog.” Well, this dog had its day with the home run, along with several very nice plays at third base.
Flaherty is in my view a nice utility player to have around, but I don’t now nor have I ever seen him as an everyday answer at any position. But he is a plus defender at any position and can give you some left-handed at-bats in the low .200s with some occasional power. He is going to have his dog’s day once in a while, and it happened last night.
The win kept the Orioles on pace with the Jays at a game behind – having the same number of losses, though two less wins. The Yankees are now 3.5 games behind the Orioles.
This Texas Rangers team is clearly a fraction of what we are used to seeing with this franchise. Their starting pitching is really pretty rough and minimal, tough that changes tonight with Yu Davish taking the hill. Other than the 2012 playoff game, the Orioles have never faced him. He is currently 8-4 with a 2.42 ERA. He shut out the Twins over eight innings in his most recent start, though in his two prior outings he was touched for four runs by both the Angels and A’s.
Wei-Yin Chen will counter with his 7-3, 4.19 stats. His last outing against the Rays was not a good one at all, lasting only 3.1 innings. Of late, Chen has begun to leave too many pitches too high, and he has been paying for it.
Though Chen has not pitched against the Rangers this year, his three previous starts have all been very good. In each he was the winning pitcher – giving up one run in each game for an ERA of 1.29.
The Rangers have lost eight consecutive games on the road and are now 10 games under .500.
Tonight’s Orioles lineup … hoping the rain does not make it a late one …
The sky above Camden Yards right now. pic.twitter.com/EoLqUV5Jr9
— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) July 3, 2014