Baltimore Orioles Lose to Blue Jays and the Ump


Jun 19, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) scores in the first inning behind Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters (32) as home plate umpire CB Bucknor looks on at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles fell behind early in Friday evening’s series opener with the Jays 5-0, not getting a hit until the eighth inning. And though they would make it a one-run game with the 5-4 final score, for most of the night, the game felt like it was over practically from the beginning.

To look at the two starting pitchers – Marco Estrada and Mike Wright – it is not the Blue Jays’ hurler that you would pick to have the better stuff and results. Though he is listed as 6’0”, wearing the high socks makes him look much shorter. And it would seem he needs a tailwind to get a pitch to hit 90 mph. On the other hand, Mike Wright is 6’6” and can flat-out bring it to the plate. But it was the Orioles would could not get any good wood on the ball.

Setting the tone for the evening and knocking Wright off the rails in the first inning was umpire CB Bucknor. When Wright grazed Joe Bautista with a running 2-2 fastball, immediately the benches were warned. Bucknor overreacted, and Jays Manager John Gibbons correctly was offended – ending with his own quick ejection. Two doubles quickly followed, with two runs scored, and Wright was all wrong after that.

The inside of the plate was taken away, while at the same time, Bucknor was not giving Wright the outside corner. Soon, too many pitches were left up in the zone, and before long it was 4-0 and Wright was out of the game after getting only four outs. While Tyler Wilson would give the Orioles 5.2 good innings while only allowing one additional run, the mountain was made and Estrada was standing on it.

Later in the game in the eighth inning, Adam Jones was hit by Roberto Osuna – resulting in his ejection and that of the Jays’ substitute manager DeMarlo Hale. Yes, Jones would be the O’s counterpoint to Joey Bats being hit. But I don’t think anyone was attempting to hit anyone else on this night.

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Really, a rookie pitcher like Wright is not going to hit Bautista. First of all, he was not around for all of the previous foolishness and excitement between the teams. The guy just wants to get outs and prove he can stay in the majors. And it was a 2-2 pitch!

And the same with Jones being hit. Osuna is trying to get out of a jam and preserve a win for his team. He’s not going to plunk Jones to put runners on base in front of Chris Davis (not that doing such turned out to be a very scary thing on this evening!).

Certainly the umpiring crew was much aware of the previous tensions between these teams and were committed to jumping proactively on a problem at its first appearance. The problem is that in trying to prevent a problem, they threw gas all over it. Without a doubt, these two teams do not like each other at all, though they now likely agree that the umpiring was dreadful.

Beyond the ejections, indeed, the plate umpiring by CB Bucknor was just awful. The strike zone was all over the place. The inconsistent and lousy performances by the guys in blue should certainly be a focus of MLB, though it never seems to happen.

Understand, today’s headline aside, the umpiring did not cost the Orioles the game – they lost it to the Blue Jays. And maybe some people like to watch a game with the silly drama that Bucknor created, but I felt like I wasted a good Friday night.