Baltimore Orioles Outslug Papi, Panda and the Lilliputians 1-0


Jun 9, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) and relief pitcher Zach Britton (53) celebrate on the field after defeating the Boston Red Sox 1-0 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles proved the axiom to be true that, if the other team never scores, they can’t win. Not a player on the O’s or the Red Sox walked away with a run batted in, as the Birds scored the only run of the game on a wild pitch in the seventh inning. It was the sort of game a soccer fan would love.

Low-scoring games don’t tend to have heroes, but the lone run put up by the Orioles was set up by the two hitters most struggling at the plate. Steve Pearce hit a double while J.J. Hardy moved him to third on a single. Both are batting under .200 on the season. Pearce would cross the plate on a wild pitch by Boston reliever Matt Barnes.

As feared and as predicted, Eduardo Rodriguez threw a great start at his former organization, going six innings with no runs on three hits. With three walks and seven strikeouts, his pitch count did elevate on him just a bit. He now has an ERA through three games of 0.44. As Roch would say, “Is that good?”

The Orioles’ Miguel Gonzalez was just about as good, until he suffered a groin strain in the fifth inning. Though the injury is not believed to be a long-term serious one, with the O’s already playing a man short, it might present an opportunity to DL him and get some relief help over the next four games, and then switch out that player with Mike Wright, for example, to cover Gonzalez’ next start.

Probably the highest praise on the Orioles should go to the bullpen. After Miguel went 4.1 innings, T.J. McFarland recorded the next five outs on only 15 pitches. Chaz Roe got four more outs, though allowing two runners for Zach Britton to handle on his way to a 28-pitch, five-out save – #16 on the years.

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Roe is credited with his first win for the Orioles, and only the second of his career. He has now tallied 12 innings for the Orioles and given up only one run on six hits.

Zach Britton is simply impressive. He got out of a first-and-second, one-out jam in the eighth by striking out two batters. He threw a total of 28 pitches and has now covered his last 10 games without yielding a run.

Unfortunately, this is too often the need for the 2015 Orioles – to have to have the staff pitch a shutout while hoping against hope to somehow get a run on the board. This pattern has to change, and perhaps it can tonight against Rick Porcello – a pitcher that the O’s have historically rocked pretty well with a career average against him over .300.

Regarding the title today: It always strikes me when I watch the Red Sox as to how many little guys they have on the field. Remember in spring training this year when a portion of the Orioles team was playing a game on the back fields in Sarasota against the Puerto Rican Developmental Team? The few pictures escaping that exhibition showed how that team looked like a group of high school kids playing the pros. Other than the very tall Ortiz and a couple players at 6’1,” the majority of the Red Sox’s starting lineup is well under 6’.  And this includes Sandoval the Panda – who weighs a reported 255 on his 5-11 frame. It’s a bunch of Lilliputians.

Next: O's face their former prospect Eduardo Rodriguez

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