May 1, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcherChris Tillman
(30) looks on in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Orioles played only their third game this week, as the team and the City of Baltimore attempt to return to a sense of normalcy.
However, what was a homestand turned into one game against the White Sox and a ‘home game’ in Tampa Bay.
The O’s came into Tampa hitting well. The Rays, meanwhile, have been pitching really well. Everyone knows TB is not a team that is going to outscore you. However, their pitching, which is young, is very, very good.
And Alex Colome, in his first start of the year, proved that. He only went five innings, but struck out six and only allowed three hits and no walks in those innings.
Then, the Rays’ bullpen came in and shut down the Orioles. In a way, this game was very similar to what the team was doing exactly a week ago. Let’s look at why.
Chris Tillman was cruising in the fourth inning. But then he walked Asdrubel Cabrera with two outs, and up came Tillman’s nemesis, Evan Longoria. And Longoria drove home Cabrera, because Longoria always hurts the O’s. James Loney would then drive in Longoria, and it was 2-0 in a hurry. And that was the game.
Tillman pitched well, but walking a fairly weak hitter with two outs in the fourth inning is frustrating.
Manny Machado made another error in this game, airmailing a throw to Chris Davis at first base. And there was at least one other play, on a ground ball to third, that could have also been called an error.
Afterward, in the dugout, Manny looked visibly upset as Jonathan Schoop tried to keep Manny’s head in it. At this point, is Manny physically limited? Is it a lack of focus? I’m not sure, but it is concerning.
Too many strikeouts also ended up hurting the O’s, as the team struck out 13 times, tying the most they have struck out in 2015.
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Davis and De Aza both struck out three times each, and neither looked good while doing it. Caleb Joseph was the only person on the team not to strike out.
I believe the Orioles are going to be just fine. Their hitting approach seems to be better in 2015. But, with the tumultuous week they have had to deal with, there may be some rust for a few days.
The good news is that J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty are getting close to going on their rehab assignments. Matt Wieters is getting closer to going on a rehab assignment. The Orioles will be fine, but the pesky Rays with their solid pitching are going to be tough to beat this year.