Remember when you were a kid and your mom and dad would pack the family in the car to head down to the baseball park? The whole way there you’d wonder who the umpire was for that game and what he was going to do to influence the result. Because that’s why everyone goes to baseball games, right?
Maybe that’s why home plate umpire Sam Holbrook thinks people go to baseball games, because he sure took it upon himself to make stupid decisions that could impact the final score. Did it have an impact? Well we know the Orioles lost, and maybe they would have lost anyway. But they should at least be able to lose fair and square is what I’m saying.
There was a lot to dislike about this game, frankly.
You get an ejection! And you get an ejection!
Surely you have been keeping up on the drama between the Orioles and Red Sox, though if you haven’t you’re probably better off. Prior to today’s game, commissioner Rob Manfred had a call with the management of both the Orioles and the Red Sox to tell them to cut it out. Warnings were not issued to the team pre-game.
After a scoreless first inning, Kevin Gausman unleashed with a murderous 77-mph curve ball that hit Xander Bogaerts in the hip. Before we could even process what had happened, Holbrook had tossed Gausman from the game.
Everyone was shocked, and I mean everyone. Caleb Joseph totally lost his cool, yelling at Holbrook and having to be pushed away by Buck Showalter. Gausman kept repeating that he was throwing a curve ball, even helpfully mimicking his curve ball grip to Holbrook as he did so.
If there is to be a best part of this scenario, it was Manny Machado gently and calmly holding back Gausman, whispering soothing things to him (probably). Manny almost had a smile on his face at times, like “This is just what happens now.” He guided Gausman from the field and gave him a reassuring butt smack for the road.
There was a lot of discussion between the umpires and Showalter after tempers cooled, but what was done was done. There was no bringing Gausman back. And if you’re wondering if only the Orioles thought this was ridiculous, here is some video from NESN, the Red Sox sports network:
The money line of course is, “That’s clueless. Holbrook is clueless.”
Not to be forgotten about, Holbrook was back in action in the fifth inning with Adam Jones at the plate. During the at-bat Jones took a breaking pitch that looked high and Holbrook called a very late strike on it. Jones looked back and had a few words for him, but nothing more than you usually see from any player.
Later in the at-bat Jones struck out swinging and as he walked back to the dugout (i.e. AWAY from the umpire) he groused a bit, to which Holbrook tossed him out of the game. Yes, that is a thing that happened! Adam Jones has played in 1420 games over 12 seasons and this was his first career ejection.
But what about the actual game, Stacey?
Right, there were runs scored by both teams and everything this game, even if it’s not what we’ll remember.
Gausman was replaced by the recently called up Richard Bleier, who actually pitched pretty well. His pitching line isn’t that impressive, but for that he shares any blame with J.J. Hardy, who looked terrible in the field today (and this entire series, really).
Bleier walked the first batter he faced and it’s hard to blame him for being a bit jittery after what had just transpired. With runners on first and third with one out, Josh Rutledge hit a liner that just got over Hardy’s glove and into left field. Maybe in his younger days J.J. would have gotten up high enough to get it.
The second inning ended with no further runs scored, but Hardy really screwed Bleier over in the fourth inning. Bogaerts started the inning with a ground ball that went right through Hardy’s legs.
After two straight hits knocked in one run and put runners on second and third, Rutlege hit a grounder to Hardy. Instead of throwing to first for the out, Hardy airmailed a ball home. The run scored and everyone was safe. The Red Sox fourth run scored two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Dustin Pedroia. That, of course, should have been the third out.
All told, Bleier came out of the bullpen and pitched four innings allowing four runs. One run was inherited and two were unearned, so he did what he could.
As for Red Sox starter Drew Pomeranz, after a messy first inning in which the Orioles loaded the bases but couldn’t score, he settled down and kept the Orioles off the board until the sixth inning. It was then that he walked Mark Trumbo and gave up a one-out double to Jonathan Schoop and was pulled from the game.
Relief pitcher Heath Hembree immediately allowed both inherited runners to score, first on a sac fly from Trey Mancini and then a two-out RBI single from Hardy. It didn’t really make up for his errors, but it was a start. Unfortunately after that the Red Sox relievers kept the O’s off the board for the rest of the game, leading to the loss.
Tomorrow’s starter, today!
After Bleier’s four innings the Orioles turned to Ubaldo Jimenez to try and keep the Red Sox down. Jimenez was scheduled to start tomorrow’s game, so now we don’t know who will start. Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne speculated quite a bit that Buck Showalter might send Gausman back out, but that is far from a sure thing.
As for Ubaldo, he more than answered the call. He not only saved the bullpen from having to be burned, he pitched three scoreless innings! He did walk one batter in each of his innings because even when he’s good, he’s still Ubaldo. But to those three walks (one of which he picked off!) he added just one single, which is a pretty good recipe for shutting down a team.
It’s always nice to see Ubaldo do well, especially in a game that was otherwise so terrible.
Tomorrow the Orioles will try to achieve a series split with TBD on the mound versus Kyle Kendrick.