Baltimore Orioles: Veterans Step Up to Lead the Way


Jun 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) celebrates with teammates after scoring a run during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It seems like I was a much younger man the last time I wrote about an O’s win. But finally the Baltimore Orioles gained a victory in Houston, even if it was by the crushing score of 3-2.

One game, one win does not make for a trend or streak. But there are a number of features about this series finale victory that can be received as encouraging. It was a win that was gained by veteran players.

And not just the players, the manager also. Buck Showalter got himself thrown out of the game in the second inning. Well, amen to that! In old-time baseball, when a team was going poorly, managers like Earl Weaver and Billy Martin would kick up a fuss and get themselves tossed to stir up their squad. Beyond that, he had a legit gripe about the huge strike zone that got Ryan Flaherty unjustly called out.

As I wrote yesterday, the lack of plate discipline and the overly-aggressive posture of Orioles hitters did not serve them well at all. The Orioles registered six outs Wednesday evening by hitting the first pitch, and they also were 1-for-5 when swinging at 1-0 and 2-0 pitches. The fact that they were taking pitches early in the game on Thursday, along with Showalter flipping out about one of his players being unjustly punished for doing so, would seem to be evidence that something has been said behind closed doors on this subject. Perhaps Buck had a ranting session with the team; we’ll never know … but I hope it happened.

The Orioles only managed three runs, which is certainly not an exit from the desert of scoreless-ness. And they were facing one of the best in the business. But the way these runs were registered speaks well of the effort and of who made it happen.

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Run #1 came in the first inning, featuring Manny Machado getting into scoring position, where Chris Davis brought him home on a two-out single.

Run #2 tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning, as Steve Pearce drove home Adam Jones from second base, again with a two-out single.

Run #3, the game-winning blow as it would turn out, came off the home run bat of Adam Jones in the eighth inning, again with two outs.

Davis, Pearce, Jones – these are the names that need to power the Orioles offense and take the lead in bringing it back to being a team strength.

As well, in the pitching department, it was veterans who led the way. A good start by Wei-Yin Chen, including some clutch pitching, got the Orioles into a position of being able to win a close game. Darren O’Day pitched out of a terrible jam in the seventh inning, and Zach Britton came on to register a five-out save. Together they tallied 14 strikeouts and held the Astros to a 0-for-9 day with runners in scoring position.

Chen, O’Day, Britton – these are among the names of the veteran pitchers who need to maintain solid momentum in shutting down opponents. Now, if only Chris Tillman can join that list … maybe tonight!

The Orioles now move on to Cleveland for a weekend series. Imagine what the flight from Texas to Ohio would have been like if the Astros had swept four games from Baltimore.

Next: Orioles shut down by a kid!

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