Going into today, this was not a game that many Orioles fans expected to turn out as a win. That's just the attitude one has when his or her team is facing Justin Verlander. So on one hand, you could say that at least if the Orioles were going to give up 10 runs, they might as well do it in a game when they are facing a pitcher like Verlander. Save the good pitching for a chance they have to win.
Well, Verlander was good today, but he wasn't as dominant as the Orioles have sometimes seen him. He pitched seven innings and gave up eight hits and one walk, but only allowed three runs. Two of those runs were on solo homers by J.J. Hardy and the third was on an RBI single by Chris Davis that knocked in Manny Machado.
From the get go today, Jason Hammel didn't look too sharp. He had a walk in the first inning and gave up a run in the second. He was lucky it was only one as he walked two in the inning but benefited from a sweet double play started by second baseman Ryan Flaherty. He had a very nice 1-2-3 third inning that made me think he might be settling down, but well, that was not the case at all.
In the fourth inning, things went bad very, very quickly. In the span of just a few minutes, Hammel gave up three home runs, hit a guy in the head, and was tossed from the game without any hesitation from the home plate umpire. Here is the play-by-play for the first four batters:
|Top 4th: Detroit|
|- V. Martinez homered to deep right|
|- J. Peralta homered to deep left|
|- A. Avila homered to deep center|
|- M. Tuiasosopo hit by pitch|
- T.J. McFarland relieved J. Hammel
The pitch that hit Matt Tuiasosopo was a looping breaking ball, and the second it hit him the umpire ejected Hammel. It seemed clear to me that Hammel didn't throw at him on purpose. He had been missing his spots all night and even if he were going to throw at a batter (which doesn't seem to be Hammel's style at all) I am certain he would never go head hunting.
Hammel's reaction upon being ejected was one of complete disbelief. He jumped up in the air out of frustration and then began talking intensely to the ump. Before things could get too out of hand, Buck Showalter came out to take his place. Hammel left the field as the crowd booed the umpire and maybe Hammel just a little, since he was pretty terrible today.
T.J. McFarland relieved Hammel and the poor guy didn't fare any better than Hammel did. Here is the play-by-play for the next four batters:
|- A. Garcia singled to shallow right, M. Tuiasosopo to second|
|- O. Infante doubled to left, M. Tuiasosopo scored, A. Garcia to third|
|- A. Dirks walked|
- M. Cabrera homered to deep left, A. Garcia, O. Infante and A. Dirks scored
When McFarland got three balls on Andy Dirks I said out loud, "Do not walk Dirks so that Cabrera can hit a grand slam..." He didn't listen to me. He did retire the next three batters to end the inning, but it's safe to say that the damage was done. Just to give the Tigers a nice round number, McFarland also gave up a home run to Prince Fielder in the sixth inning.
Verlander exited the game with a 10-3 lead and the Orioles were not able to mount any rallies against his replacement, Drew Smyly. I suppose if you're looking for a silver lining, Troy Patton pitched pretty well. He had a great first inning of work, getting two ground outs and a strike out. He gave up two singles to start his second inning, but got the next three to retire the side. Tommy Hunter pitched a perfect ninth inning in the loss.
Tomorrow is the third day of Gausmas. Cross your fingers we don't get any more lumps of coal.