For the last week, the Orioles have lost just about every battle of bullpens they've been involved in. Sure, last Tuesday was fun, but since then? Not so much. The blown lead against the Red Sox the next day. The blown four-run lead against the Angels on Saturday. The blown four-run lead against the Angels on Sunday. And yesterday's one-hit affair is best forgotten all together.
Tonight was a strange, strange night, and a week's worth of breaks went against, then for, the Orioles in the game against the Mariners. First, we went up 2-0 against Erik Bedard in the first inning. Progress, you say? Sure, if the umps hadn't blatantly blown a call and cost the Orioles a run. To set the scene: Nolan Reimold is on first, Nick Markakis is on second and Adam Jones is on third with Luke Scott batting. Nick and Adam easily score when the throw from the outfield bounces off the pitcher's mound and into a camera well. Nolan Reimold, who slowed AFTER rounding second, is awarded third base, but not home. He should have scored.
Here's why. Rule 7.05 (g) is about as clear as baseball rules get. To wit:
(g) Two bases when, with no spectators on the playing field, a thrown ball goes into the stands, or into a bench (whether or not the ball rebounds into the field), or over or under or through a field fence, or on a slanting part of the screen above the backstop, or remains in the meshes of a wire screen protecting spectators. The ball is dead. When such wild throw is the first play by an infielder, the umpire, in awarding such bases, shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the ball was pitched; in all other cases the umpire shall be governed by the position of the runners at the time the wild throw was made;...
APPROVED RULING: ...The term "when the wild throw was made" means when the throw actually left the player’s hand and not when the thrown ball hit the ground, passes a receiving fielder or goes out of play into the stands.
It got worse. Jeremy Guthrie could barely reach 90 mph tonight, and his ball was flat. He was examined by the trainer in the first inning, and was pulled during the third. Dave Trembley in his post-game confab with Jim Hunter and Jim Palmer said Guthrie told him he felt dizzy during warm-ups and his stomach was upset. Trembley said there was no issue with his arm or shoulder, Guthrie simply was sick. We'll see.
Orioles Magic started to happen once the starters left. When Guthrie left, the score was 3-2 Seattle. The Mariners would not score again until the ninth, when the game was safely out of reach,. Mark Hendrickson pitched 2.2 innings, then came Matt Albers, Danys Baez and Jim Johnson, all pitching scoreless relief, before George Sherrill gave up one run. Seattle, meanwhile, was hamstrung by Erik Bedard's 80 pitch count limit. He was filthy tonight - eight K's and just on ewalk and made it look easy after the first inning. But once he was gone, this was a whole new ballgame. Three Seattle relievers combined to allow 10 runs, and what was a one-run Seattle lead in the 5th inning became a nine-run deficit by the end of the 7th.
Luke Scott destroyed the Mariners tonight. He was a double shy of the cycle, drove in 7 runs, and his 3-run homer in the 7th capped of a 6 run inning that ended any hope of the Mariners coming back. Nolan Reimold did his part as well, with 3 RBI in a two for four night at the plate. Ty Wigginton continues to surprise with his adequacy at second base, and Melvin Mora may be slow on the basepaths, but he can still gun them out from 3B when on the field.
Tomorrow's game, the last on the West Coast for the year, starts at 4:05 Eastern. And I, and the rest of Birdland, can return to normal sleep patterns.