What I Liked / Didn’t Like about the Orioles three-game stand against the Blue Jays.
Game 1: 13-6 loss on Tuesday night (April 21)
Game 2: 4-2 loss on Wednesday night (April 22)
Game 3: 7-6 loss on Thursday night (April 23)
What I liked:
1. Manny Machado – Machado went 5-for-10 with a walk and six RBI in the series, blasting a solo homer and a three-run homer in Game 3.
2. Delmon Young – Young went 4-for-9 in the series.
3. Adam Jones – Jones went 4-for-11 with a walk in the series.
4. Buck Showalter removing Jones from Game 1 – Tensions escalated in the seventh inning, when Jose Bautista homered off Jason Garcia after Garcia had thrown a pitch behind Bautista, who showboated after hitting the homer and then had some words for the O’s as he rounded the bases. Jones took exception and began shouting at Bautista. Buck then removed Jones from the game before his next plate appearance, not wanting to even risk Jones being thrown at. Smart move, especially given that starting position players J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop already are on the 15-day disabled list.
And by the way, it’s very hard to believe that Garcia purposely threw at Bautista. Garcia is a rookie who was acquired by the O’s from Houston for cash considerations following the Astros taking him with the fourth overall pick in the Rule-5 Draft last December. He has seen very little playing time so far this season and likely was nervous. The O’s are in a difficult spot with Garcia. Because he is a Rule-5 pick, the O’s must keep him on the 25-man roster all season or risk losing him via waivers or by offering him back to his original organization (Boston). But they clearly don’t trust him, as he has appeared in just four games and allowed five runs in seven innings on seven hits and four walks.
Garcia is representative of the lack of flexibility that the O’s have with this roster from a standpoint of minor-league options and the like. The O’s have made a living the last few years shuttling players to and from Triple-A Norfolk but are not in a position to operate the same way so far this season.
5. The bullpen starting with the eighth inning of Game 1 – Orioles relievers from that point forward combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the series. Garcia and Brian Matusz combined to allow four runs in 4 2/3 innings on 10 hits, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a wild pitch in Game 1.
What I didn’t like:
1. No Orioles starter lasting longer than 5 1/3 innings for a second consecutive series – What started in the O’s splitting a four-game series at Boston continued in Toronto. The starting pitching has been awful lately, and the bullpen can’t keep being gone to so early in games without it eventually falling apart.
Bud Norris allowed nine runs in 2 1/3 innings on six hits and three walks in Game 1. He now has a 17.42 ERA over three starts this season, having allowed 20 runs in 10 1/3 innings. Two of the starts have come against the power-hitting Blue Jays, but Norris was terrific against them last season, going 4-0 with a 1.78 ERA over five starts. Norris had a bad spring training, and the struggles have obviously continued into the regular season.
Ubaldo Jimenez allowed four runs in five innings in Game 2, giving up six hits (including two two-run homers) and three walks. He did record six strikeouts.
Chris Tillman allowed seven runs in 4 1/3 innings in Game 3, giving up five hits and five walks. He was the Orioles’ best starting pitcher over the previous three seasons, but he now has a 7.58 ERA and 1.84 WHIP over four starts this season.
2. Alejandro De Aza getting thrown out trying to steal in Game 2 – De Aza got thrown out trying to steal third to end the top of the seventh, despite Chris Davis being at the plate and the O’s trailing, 4-2. Terrible decision with little upside.