The Orioles have not had a very good series against the Tampa Bay Rays. They were defeated in the first two contests of a crucial three-game set; however, last night, the Orioles put a halt to the losing and defeated the Rays, 4-2.
Wednesday’s contest was notable for a few reasons:
The Matt Wieters’ throw to nail Kelly Johnson to end the game was amazing. The clutch throw was made when Will Myers was on the third. If Johnson reaches second and the next batter gets a single, the game is tied at 4-4. Say what you want about Wieters at the plate and what not; however, he showed why last night all talk surrounding him about being an elite catcher in the game.
Jim Johnson was not brought out to finish up the game and Tommy Hunter got the save. I think from this point forward, Buck Showalter will use him in spots. There are 36 games left in the season, and each will one be critical down the stretch. Just imagine if Johnson just saved four of the nine saves he blew. The Orioles would have one of the wild card spots right now.
The Orioles runs come off of blasts from Adam Jones (26th homer of the year) and Chris Davis (his 46th). Davis’ shot was a blast, heading out to Eutaw Street. His homer yesterday was his 25th at Camden Yards and he is two from the record, held by Rafael Palmeiro. He is four away from the club record, held by Brady Anderson.
Chen pitched well, giving up two runs in seven innings. He finally got past the ‘wall’ after five innings and gave the Oriole bullpen a breather.
Despite tagging Jeremy Hellickson for 4 runs in little more than four innings, the Orioles have to do a better job manufacturing runs. They left nine on base and were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Overall, the Orioles put forth a great effort on Wednesday. They still trail the Red Sox by 5 ½ games in American League East and are three behind in the wild card hunt. The Indians are ahead of them, trailing by 2 ½ games.
They are off on Thursday; however, have a huge series against Oakland this weekend. If Oakland sweeps Baltimore, then they will have quite a hill to climb to stay relevant in the playoff race.
It has been a so-so week for the Orioles and they have to bring their A-game in the next week or so.
It could make or break their season. We know watching this team over the past two years that they are talented and resilient.
Anything can happen.