The Baltimore Orioles were beaten by Tampa once again due to their inability to score runs and their aversion to go against conventional wisdom.
It’s going to be tough for the Baltimore Orioles to win when they only score two runs. That should go without saying, although it’s been done – and recently, at that. However as a general rule, you might want to put more than two on the board, especially in the American Leauge East.
Tampa is probably the worst type of opponent for the Orioles to be playing right now. They’ve been out of the race for months, but now they have a hungry crop of youngsters in their lineup who are intent on making a name for themselves. And if Toronto and the Orioles have anything to say about it, they’re doing a pretty good job of it. Conventional wisdom says that the Orioles should manhandle this Tampa team – but in reality Tampa’s always been a team that’s thrown conventional wisdom to the wind.
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Chris Tillman didn’t bring his good stuff per se in this game, but he did put the Orioles in a position to win the game. Tillman’s line: 5.4 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 K. If Oriole bats could have come through for more than two runs, Tillman might have been in a spot to win his 17th game of the season.
The Orioles got sac fly-RBI from Manny Machado and Hyun-Soo Kim respectively in the first and third innings. So they were in line to win this game – in theory. But Tampa’s never to be outdone. Brad Miller’s infield RBI-single in the fourth cut the lead to 2-1. Two innings later Evan Longoria continued his great series with a solo homer to tie it at two.
Richie Shaffer’s RBI-double later in the inning gave Tampa a 3-2 lead. However the backbreaker was in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded, Mike Mahtook blooped a very soft single into right center field, which scored two runs. And that’s where the conventional wisdom failed the Orioles a bit…
…had the Orioles been playing straight away, Jonathan Schoop might have had a shot at that ball. That’s how softly hit it was. But the Orioles had shifted their infield defense a bit, and Mahtook took advantage. That’s been Tampa’s game for ten years it seems; whereas you play the numbers and the odds by setting your defense accordingly, they’re going to try to hit it where you aren’t. Regardless of where you are.
Those little bloop hits bleed teams to death, and it happened to the Orioles last night. Heck, that’s the story of the 2014 ALCS against Kansas City as well. Boston won yesterday, so their lead is now three games in the AL East. However the good news is that everyone chasing the Orioles (including Toronto) lost yesterday. So they didn’t lose any ground per se.
The series concludes this afternoon at Camden Yards. Wade Miley will be on the mound for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Tampa’s Jake Odorizzi. Game time is set for just after 1:30 this afternoon.