It’s hard to win a game when you only score a single run, and sure enough, the Orioles lost to the Rockies on Wednesday night, 3-1. They blew every scoring chance presented to them in losing the series. That’s the way it goes sometimes.
Why does a good team lose two out of three at home to a not-good team like the Rockies? Some questions don’t have very satisfactory answers. As the Adam Jones Theory of Everything states, “Sometimes you suck.” Well, tonight was one of those times.
What stinks all the more about the loss is that it happened on a day when both the Red Sox and Blue Jays had already lost before the Orioles even played. They had a chance to gain a game and they just... didn’t. They didn’t do much of anything.
If all you look at for Dylan Bundy’s performance is his final line, I’m sorry to tell you that you missed quite a wild ride. Bundy absolutely steamrolled the Rockies lineup for five innings, not even allowing a single baserunner in that time. He was perfect as he struck out eight batters.
The performance was impressive, a reminder of why it was that the Orioles selected Bundy with the 4th overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has always been good. It’s just been a matter of getting healthy enough to show it.
Ah, but there’s the rub, because Bundy hasn’t quite worked his way up to a full load yet. In the sixth inning, Bundy had visibly lost some sharpness as his pitch count approached the high he set in his previous start. Where he was firing almost nothing but strikes before, in the sixth inning he started to miss spots.
That led to Bundy having particular problems against two former Orioles at the bottom of the Rockies lineup. Bundy’s first baserunner reached when he walked Mark Reynolds. Then came Nick Hundley, and a hanging change-up - earlier in the game, the same pitch had been devastating Rockies hitters - crossed the plate and Hundley didn’t miss it.
Just like that, the perfect game, the no-hitter, and the shutout were all gone in the span of two batters. It was a frustrating sequence of events if only because the Orioles had failed to score at all in the game up until that point. In an ordinary game, there’s not much to get upset about if a pitcher suddenly gives up two runs in the sixth inning.
Manager Buck Showalter left Bundy in to try to finish the sixth inning. Maybe he was caught off guard, maybe he just wanted to push Bundy. Whichever it was, Bundy left another pitch up to recently called up top prospect David Dahl and that was blasted to deep center. That was finally enough to lift Bundy from the game.
In the end, it was a career high 89 pitches for Bundy. That’s progress in its own way, a reminder that he’s still working towards where he needs to be. In Bundy’s first start, he seemed to run out of gas around 60 pitches. Tonight, maybe it was 75 or 80 pitches. It’s a step on the journey. And man, he looked great for five innings.
What do you mean, “offense”?
Let’s start with the good news. The depleted Chris Davis finally broke his 0-24 streak with an against-the-shift bunt in the second inning. It was the kind of hit that people wish he would try to get more often.
The bad news is that the next batter, an also-slumping Mark Trumbo, grounded into a double play, and the bunt single was only one of six hits the O’s got in the entire game. Yikes.
If it wasn’t for a sixth inning Manny Machado home run, the Orioles would have been shut out. Not that they didn’t have their chances. In fact, they really should have had a second home run in the game.
The third inning led off with Matt Wieters hitting a ball a mile high that cleared the foul pole and crossed behind it. You may note that this, by rule, is a home run, and it is, but the thing about rules is they require umpires to carry them out.
The umpires on the field missed the call and the replay umpires in New York did not overturn the call despite the obvious visual evidence that it was a home run. Maybe they were out on a smoke break or something. They sure weren’t watching the camera angles from MASN.
This is the kind of thing that would have driven us all crazy in a one-run game. It wasn’t. And the Orioles blew plenty of other chances, like when the Orioles got the first two men on in the fourth inning, and loaded the bases with one out, only to have the heart of the lineup fail to do anything with the opportunity.
Another chance came in the fifth inning. Wieters led off with a double and was left standing there at inning’s end thanks to the bottom of the lineup also failing to do anything.
Wieters was involved in all of the interesting plays of the night, it seemed - he also got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double to lead off the seventh inning. Wieters hit a ball high off the scoreboard in right field, but he’s slow and he kind of had a bad slide into second and didn’t beat the tag. They called him safe on the field but the replay overturned the result. So it goes.
It’s not an answer to make you happy, but sometimes it is the case that the other guy is good. Rockies starter Jon Gray was the #3 overall pick in 2013. A good pitcher will do well sometimes, and Gray did tonight - seven innings, five hits, two walks, the only run allowed on Machado’s 21st homer of the year.
In the loser days of Dave Trembley, one might have said, “Sometimes you gotta tip your cap.” Well, there is no more tipping caps here. Tipping caps is for losers. The Orioles could have done better, but there’s no denying Gray can be good and was good tonight. That happens. You can’t win every game. Which doesn’t make it any more fun when the Orioles lose.
Next, Ubaldo Jimenez. Oh, yes. The O’s travel to Minnesota for one make-up game, where Jimenez will start as they look to preserve or extend their two game AL East lead. Kyle Gibson starts for the Twins.