May 4th is known widely as Star Wars Day because of the widespread pun “May the fourth be with you,” which is a play on well-known Star Wars saying “May the force be with you.” Tonight, May 4th was known in Boston as “We Lose to the Orioles Day.”
To begin the day, the Dan Duquette roster carousel spun yet again, bringing Gabriel Ynoa and Tyler Wilson to Boston in favor of Richard Bleier and Alec Asher. Wilson would get his first starting nod of the year, and Kyle Kendrick would get his first starting nod of any year since 2015 because The Red Sox finally placed the ineffective Stephen Wright on the disabled list.
If you’ve been following this series to this point, it’s impossible that you haven’t noticed that there have been quite a few brush-ups, ejections, and general tom-foolery. Would it continue tonight?
The BABIP Menace
Despite a couple of singles and a throwing error in The Orioles half of the first inning, nobody would come around to score. They had a couple of runners on with one out, but Chris Davis would bloop his chance away at plating any runs into the glove of Andrew Benintendi.
The Red Sox half of the first inning was a different story. After Tyler Wilson recorded two quick outs, Mookie Betts tapped a slow ground ball to Manny Machado. The play at first was close, but probably only because Manny was on the receiving end of the slow-roller. Infield hit.
Hanley Ramirez followed that up with a solid liner to RF. Runners on first and third, two down. The Red Sox then hit a blooper of their own, off of the bat of Xander Bogaerts, but this one would fall in for a base hit. Betts scored easily on the play, and Ramirez scored when the Orioles decided to throw the ball around, ending in a run-down of Bogaerts where he returned to first easily because nobody was covering the bag.
The score was quickly 2-0 in favor of The Sox, and the game already had the feel of “well here we go again.”
Return of The Small Ball
The Orioles are not a team known for playing a lot of small ball, but in the third, after Caleb Joseph lined out and Seth “Dad” Smith hit a line drive back up the middle for a 1B, Adam Jones decided to drop a bunt down the third base line good for a single of his own. Manny Machado came up and grounded into a fielder’s choice that advanced Dad to third.
There were two down, runners on first and third. Chris Davis stepped to the plate, and Boston catcher, Christian Vázquez tried to pick Manny off of first. To this, Jim Palmer remarked “Manny’s not gonna steal a base with Chris Davis up.” He was wrong.
Manny took off for second on the very next pitch, and Boston threw through. Manny was safe, and Dad came home on the play. He was credited with a steal of home. 2-1 still in favor of Boston, but the O’s were on the board!
Pedroia Strikes Back
In the very first AB of the Sox half of the third, Pedroia launched a long HR up over the Green Monsta’. The Sox immediately got back a run and the momentum in the game. They would not keep either.
Attack of the Dad
In the fourth, Jonathan Schoop led off by poking a 1B into RF. Hyun Soo Kim would follow by slapping a tough changeup also into RF. Runners on first and second, none down. J.J. Hardy didn’t see anything he liked to hit, so he took the free pass. Suddenly the bases were loaded with none down. Caleb Joseph had to take a turn, so he popped out.
Up came Dad. Dad worked a deep count (as he tends to do), and spanked a double the other way, off of the base of the wall in LF. Schoop and Kim scored easily, and the play ended with runners on first and third, one out, and a tie score of 3-3! Adam Jones passed his turn this time up, striking out looking and remaining quiet about it tonight. Two down.
Revenge of the Manny
With two down and two on, Manny Machado stepped to the plate and barreled-up a ball right out of Fenway. It was glorious. It was Manny’s third HR of the series, and he didn’t even get thrown at tonight! He slow-trotted around the bases, and the O’s took a 6-3 lead they would not relinquish. In case you missed it, or in case you want to relive the glory of the moment, here you go:
I hope Chris Sale and Matt Barnes were watching.
The run-scoring wouldn’t end there, with a single-and-walk parade in the fifth inning leading to the Orioles scoring two more runs, as the Orioles roughed-up Ben Taylor.
The Defense Awakens
Not only did Chris Davis have an impressive, athletic catch in the fourth inning, but the defense was alive tonight all-around. J.J. Hardy and certified human cannon, Jonathan Schoop turned a nice 6-4-3 DP in the second. Most impressively, though Joey Rickard came on as a defensive replacement in the seventh to bail-out Donnie Hart and Mychal Givens with this catch:
I declare tomorrow National Joey Rickard Day. pic.twitter.com/pUllJMk4ad— Ranting Oriole Bird (@RantingOriole) May 5, 2017
Today may have been National Star Wars Day, but tomorrow may well be dubbed National Joey Rickard Day after that one. Yeah, Statcast knocked him with an 88.9% route efficiency, but who cares? He caught it, saving a few runs, and quite possibly stopping a Boston comeback. Brad Brach and Zach Britton finished out the game relatively quietly after that.
A New Hope?
Tyler Wilson didn’t overpower The Red Sox. Tyler Wilson isn’t built to overpower opposing batters, though. He’s a command/ movement guy, and in the mold of such a pitcher, his final line tonight was 6.0 IP, 3 R, 0 BB, 1 SO—good for a quality start.
At times it felt like Tyler Wilson was pitching better than his line reflected, but the QS caught up to him as he retired Boston batter after Boston batter in the middle innings. One start is an exceptionally small sample size, but it was a refreshing performance after seeing some of what has passed for “starting pitching” on the Orioles this year.
Maybe Wilson can harness whatever mojo he tapped into tonight and become a solid anchor in the rotation. He’s not going to win any Cy Young awards, but the Orioles don’t need him to be that guy.
The Orioles entered the night 1 GB of the Yankees for first in the AL East. The Yankees didn’t play tonight, but a win puts the O’s at 17-10 for the season and 0.5 GB for first place. They’ll be back in action tomorrow night at Camden Yards against a differently-colored Sox team, with Wade Miley going against old friend, Miguel González at 7:05 pm EST.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for May 4, 2017?
This poll is closed
Seth "Dad" Smith (4-4, 2B, 2RBI to tie the game, BB, Stole Home)
Manny Machado (2-5, massive Earl Weaver Special to take the lead)
Joey Rickard (But seriously though, that catch!)
Tyler Wilson (QS, W, 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB)