A breakdown of the Orioles three-day stand against the Marlins in Miami.
Game 1: 8-5 win on Friday night (May 22)
Game 2: 1-0 13-inning loss on Saturday night (May 23)
Game 3: 5-2 loss on Sunday afternoon (May 24)
What I liked:
1. Mike Wright’s start in Game 2 – Wright tossed seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits, three walks and a hit-by-pitch.
2. The bullpen – Orioles relievers combined to allow three runs in 14 2/3 innings.
3. Manny Machado – Machado blasted a double in each game of the series, which he finished 5-for-15 with a walk.
What I didn’t like:
1. Ubaldo Jimenez’s start in Game 1 – Ubaldo lasted just four innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, a walk and a wild pitch on 87 pitches.
2. Miguel Gonzalez’s start in Game 3 – Gonzalez allowed five runs in four innings, giving up 10 hits and three walks.
3. The offense after Game 1 – The O’s scored just two runs in 22 innings over the final two games, during which the O’s batted just .197 (15-for-76).
4. Brian Matusz’s ejection in Game 2 and eventual suspension – Matusz was ejected in the bottom of the 12th of Game 2 for having a foreign substance on his right arm. He received an eight-game suspension from MLB but is appealing. Matusz’s suspension is the same that was given to Milwaukee’s Will Smith, who had illegal substance on his non-throwing arm on May 21. Each player is believed to have had the same “substance:” a combination of rosin and sunscreen.
This all falls under the weird unwritten rules of baseball. It is accepted that pitchers use foreign substances, which are illegal, because they help for a better grip on the ball. Most batters would prefer a pitcher use a foreign substance and have better control than not use the substance and potentially unintentionally hit that batter on the helmet or wrist with a pitch. But this understanding makes for an impossible-to-define gray area. How much foreign substance is too much? If the substance is obviously visible, as was the case with Smith and especially the Yankees’ Michael Pineda in April 2014, should that warrant an ejection? MLB needs to define once and for all what is and isn’t permissible and stop with “wink-wink” rules. Things like pitchers using foreign substances, phantom tags and fielders not actually stepping on second base for force outs should either be officiated accoring to the rules or those rules should change.