Baltimore Orioles: Score Four, Wins More for O’s


Sep 9, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce (28) watches his game winning solo home run against the New York Yankees in the eighth inning at Yankee Stadium. The Orioles defeated the Yankees 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles put together an all-around good game on Wednesday evening in New York by defeating the Yankees 5-3. Ubaldo Jimenez gave them their first quality start in 14 games, the offense tallied five runs, the defense was typically good, and the bullpen did the O’Day / Britton shutdown thing in the 8th/9th to save the lead.

After the Orioles scored their first three runs on two totally bonehead defensive plays by Stephen Drew, the go-ahead and game-winning run was a homer by Steve Pearce. The long fly was hit off Adam Warren in the 7th inning, though Pearce just missed getting enough of two other fly balls earlier off CC Sabathia.

Much has been made over the past several years about the magic number of four or more runs scored being the key to winning games. I chaff at that and have written against this notion as overly simplistic, but honestly the statistics are difficult to argue against.

Year< 4 Runs4+ RunsTotal

Those are very impressive numbers for sure. But to be honest, probably every team has a broadly similar story. For example, the Kansas City Royals are 18-43 and 65-13 this year in the same categories (which does reflect their better overall pitching); and they were 20-59 / 69-14.

Ubaldo Jimenez had good ball movement, which he usually does. We know that is not the problem. The home run he yielded was actually on a ball outside the strike zone and the other two runs scored on a poorly-hit ball. It is all about command, and on this night he struck out eight while walking none in his seven innings.

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Let me repeat that: Ubaldo Jimenez pitched seven innings without a walk. Teams tend to wait him out to see if he will lose control, multiply free passes, aim and groove a strike, and generally run up his pitch count and become vulnerable. When he pounds the strike zone, he is among the best; when he does not, he is among the worst.

The Orioles are one game behind the Rays and one game ahead of the Red Sox… not what we expected this year. Also not expected, and still a curiosity to me, is how this New York Yankees team is 16 games over .500.  There is simply nothing very special about it all beyond the bullpen, but they have found ways to win games while other have found ways to lose them.

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