The Orioles pitching... doesn’t suck? What is this feeling? The O’s picked up a 1-0 win over the Athletics last night, picking up their third team shutout in the first 12 games of the season. Three shutouts! The 2019 and 2021 Orioles teams each mustered only five shutouts over a whole 162 game season. They have allowed just 37 runs to date, which is 3.08 per game on average. It’s almost unbelievable. Then again, so is the offense only scoring 24 runs.
These unbelievable facts in tandem make their 4-8 record completely believable. Check out Tyler Young’s recap of the game for the lovely totals from the first road Orioles victory of the season.
The eventual outcome of last night’s game was a fun one. What was not fun, and was apparent to everyone who was watching, was the delay caused by the video feed having to go from Oakland to Baltimore, where the announcers are, then the announcers reacting to that video. The Orioles, you may recall, began the season as the only team where neither its TV nor radio broadcasters would be going on the road.
The best example of this problem comes from a video clip posted by the Orioles themselves, of Kelvin Gutiérrez putting a ball in play that turned into a game-winning error for the O’s:
Gutiérrez up the middle! pic.twitter.com/PSfinGZBoB— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 20, 2022
It is clear at the :06 mark in this video clip that the ball has gotten past the Athletics shortstop, Elvis Andrus. You can see it on the outfield grass. It takes until :09 for Kevin Brown’s call of the play to go from “calling a routine play” to “excited voice as something decisive happens” when he gets more into “Off the heel of the glove of Andrus!”
It’s also at the :09 mark that McKenna is rounding third base, which Brown does not say until :11, because he has not seen it to be able to react to it until then. (The camera work in this clip doesn’t even show McKenna crossing home plate, but let’s worry about a complaint like that for another day.)
This is even screamingly obvious in something as mundane as the Orioles Twitter account posting clips of all six strikeout pitches thrown by Jordan Lyles last night.
6 SO through 5 scoreless innings— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 21, 2022
Jordan Lyles was dealing. pic.twitter.com/zHQY2ngMDW
Missing in every one of these is any kind of instant reaction at all to the pitches. “He struck him out!” or “Strike three!” or “Swing and a miss!” or anything like that. Spot the difference between the Lyles highlight clip and this one also put together by the Orioles of Bruce Zimmermann’s first two starts, when the team and broadcasters were both in Baltimore. It is a night and day comparison. There is no reaction on the Lyles ones for a simple reason: Kevin and Ben haven’t seen it to react yet!
To be quite clear, this state of affairs is not Kevin Brown’s fault at all. I think he’s a great broadcaster. He has been a breath of fresh air since he arrived. The Orioles are fortunate that they were able to find someone with his talent to come and tell us about this sad team most nights. It is not Ben McDonald’s fault, or Jim Palmer’s, or Melanie Newman’s, or anyone else in that group.
The fault lies with whatever boss or assembly of bosses at MASN and/or the Orioles who are responsible for keeping the broadcasters in Camden Yards when the Orioles are not at Camden Yards. Clearly, these people feel no shame at the fact that they are saddling their announcing talent with an inferior product. It is a shame. The broadcasters deserve better. Orioles fans deserve better.
Some nights, you don’t really notice. Brown is good enough that he masks the difficult circumstances as best he can. His other TV and radio colleagues are as well. They have gotten plenty of practice at this over the last couple of seasons when pandemic-related precautions were more justifiable in having this broadcast arrangement.
If that is the excuse MASN and the Orioles are claiming now, it is wearing thin. Every other network has figured something out. There is no good reason for this to be happening only to a few teams at most.
I will accept that the state of affairs is locked into place for the duration of the current road trip. But if the Orioles are in St. Louis to play the Cardinals on May 10 and the TV and/or radio broadcasters are still in Camden Yards, then once again, I will say shame on MASN and/or the team. They’ve got just shy of three weeks to sort it out. Better get cracking now.
Around the blogO’sphere
Orioles’ numbers tell the story: Pitching is up, offense is down (Baltimore Baseball)
One predicted storyline of the 2022 season is that the pitchers would start out ahead of the hitters because of the shortened spring training. There are surely a plethora of reasons why this is proving true. I do think the short spring is one reason.
Thoughts on Bradish and Rodriguez (School of Roch)
Roch thinks people who are stumping for Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez should cool their jets. “There’s no reason to believe (Rodriguez) is joining them on the road trip or any time soon.” He does, however, suggest the first half as a possibility. That would be fun!
A homemade strike zone and his own field of dreams: How Grayson Rodriguez became a prodigy and the Orioles’ top pitching prospect (The Baltimore Sun)
I have not got tired of reading stories about how awesome Rodriguez is. I hope I’ve got another decade of reading them to find out if I’ll be tired by then.
It takes a leader: Inside Adley Rutschman’s passion for the process of catching (Press Box)
Also not tired of reading stories about how awesome Rutschman is. Looking forward to when he is back playing in games. Perhaps today will be the day! Or one of the days this weekend.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
The most recent Orioles victory on this day came five years ago. The 2017 team blanked the Red Sox in a 2-0 win, with Dylan Bundy leading the way with seven shutout innings to lower his ERA to 1.37 after four starts. Manny Machado hit his third homer in the game. The O’s improved to 11-4 with the win.
One current Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 26th to reliever Cionel Pérez. It’s also the birthday of some former Orioles: 2011 second baseman Ryan Adams, 2012 reserve catcher Ronny Paulino, 1995-99 reliever Jesse Orosco, and 1972-84 outfielder Al Bumbry. Today is Bumbry’s 75th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: novelist Charlotte Brontë (1816), reigning British queen Elizabeth II (1926), theater legend Patti LuPone (1949), The Cure musician Robert Smith (1959), and actor James McAvoy (1979).
On this day in history...
In 753 BC, the founding of Rome took place. Or at least, it’s history’s best guess.
In 1509 AD, Henry VIII became king of England. He is perhaps best known for his six marriages.
In 1918, German fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen, also known as The Red Baron, was shot down and killed in action in France. Before his death, The Red Baron was responsible for downing 80 planes in air-to-air combat. An impressive record, though it was smashed in World War II, with 107 different German pilots recording at least 100 kills.
In 1982, Brewers reliever Rollie Fingers recorded his 300th save, becoming the first player in MLB history to reach this milestone. Today, the 300+ save club has 31 members, with the active leader, Craig Kimbrel, at 375 saves.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 21. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!