Baltimore Orioles: Ryan Flaherty the Difference in O’s Win


Jul 29, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Ryan Flaherty (3) throws to first base for the force out during fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles accomplished a rare victory on Tuesday evening in New York by defeating the Yankees and Masahiro Tanaka 2-1.

All three runs in the game were tallied on solo home run shots. The respective cleanup hitters on the teams — Chris Davis and Alex Rodriguez — traded home runs as well. Davis’ round-tripper was in the top of the ninth inning and broke a 1-1 tie.

Cleanup hitters are supposed to hit home runs, it is what they do for a living. But #9 batters in the order are not being paid for this talent and outcome; and when they do square up a ball, it really is a bonus for their team.

Not many Orioles players have been hitting well for quite some time. But over the past 10 games in which Flaherty has played dating back to August 26th, he has batted .250 on 7-for-28 with four home runs and eight RBIs. He has also walked six times to produce an on base percentage of .382.  Since I am being uncharacteristically nice to Flaherty, I won’t put it into print that he has also struck out 10 times.

At this point, Flaherty is only batting four points lower than J.J. Hardy. Even though the Orioles have a definitive winning record with Hardy in the lineup, I would go with Flaherty on more occasions (at third, moving Machado to short). Hardy has just not been right all this year, and I cannot see how his short time away with the latest injury is going to make a difference in a season that has been a loss.

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It is no secret either that the O’s starting pitching has been pretty grim for the most part. But Kevin Gausman broke from the losing pattern by throwing five innings with only the homer to A-Rod allowed. This is not a quality start, but in comparison to what the Orioles have seen lately from starters, it felt like one. The O’s have not had a quality start since Wei-Yin Chen went 6.2 innings with three runs on August 26th in the five-homer 8-5 victory over the Royals. So that is now 12 games without a quality start!

Credit for the victory over the Yankees should go also to T.J. McFarland for giving the O’s 2.1 innings and bridging to Darren O’Day and Zach Britton.

This was a good win for the Orioles — a decent start, powered by home runs, with the bullpen shutting down the opposition. That’ll win … just too bad it hasn’t happened more often.

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