I think it is fairly safe to say that if you are reading these words, that means that you watch the Orioles as a matter of deeply ingrained habit. The Orioles have a game, so if nothing else is keeping you away from it, you watch. Baseball provides this daily comfort for six months of the year.
Some games provide more angst than comfort. This is especially true when your favorite baseball team is bad, and has been bad for four years. Individual losses don’t sting so much, but every now and again you can step back and realize that maybe there was something else you could have done with all those hours you were watching the Orioles.
This Sunday afternoon contest between the Orioles and the Yankees does not have an Orioles starting pitcher. Obviously, there is a starter, because whoever starts the game is by default the starting pitcher. That was named, about two hours before first pitch, to be Adam Plutko, a guy who probably zero O’s fans had ever given one thought to two months ago, because he was on a different team.
Plutko has pitched very well as a multi-inning reliever so far in 2021. It’s not about him, specifically. He has a 1.27 ERA in 21.1 innings, with just a 1.031 WHIP. That’s worked out. But it’s one of those games where you can guess ahead of time that it’s going to be one of “those” games because this is a bullpen game against the Yankees, and the O’s are 5-15 at home and losers of four straight games.
If the previous two games of the series are any indication, despite this being a home game for the Orioles, there will be so many Yankees fans that you can hear large numbers of them booing every time an O’s pitcher makes a pickoff throw.
Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann has been recalled for the game, so he’ll probably go for some bulk innings behind Plutko. It’s easy to root for a hometown guy. Fate is not always so kind to have the players it is easy to root for do well.
We watch anyway because sometimes they surprise us, and that’s fun. Individual players who we’re hoping will be on a good team in two years can have good games even as the team loses.
Last night’s game stunk, yet if you watched it all the way through, you were still rewarded with one of the most delightful double plays that you will ever see turned. That’s a lot more fun than thinking about how the Orioles are heading for a fourth straight year picking in the top 5 of the draft.
If today’s game becomes too much, you can always check in on how it’s going as DL Hall pitches to Adley Rutschman for Bowie. A better future is coming! It’s just not here yet.
- Cedric Mullins - CF
- Austin Hays - LF
- Trey Mancini - DH
- Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
- Pedro Severino - C
- Maikel Franco - 3B
- Freddy Galvis - SS
- Pat Valaika - 2B
- Ryan McKenna - RF
- DJ LeMahieu - 2B
- Luke Voit - 1B
- Aaron Judge - DH
- Gio Urshela - 3B
- Gary Sanchez - C
- Clint Frazier - RF
- Miguel Andujar - LF
- Ryan LaMarre - CF
- Tyler Wade - SS
I have never stored the name Ryan LaMarre in my memory banks as an MLB player until encountering him in this starting lineup today. The enduring pact between the Yankees and Satan guarantees they will keep winning even with lineups like this. It sure doesn’t hurt when they get to play the Orioles 19 times a year.
Today’s Yankees starter is Jordan Montgomery, who the Orioles have already faced twice so far this season. He’s given up two runs across 11 innings pitched against the O’s, with a 3.96 ERA for the season overall.