You Can’t Spell Woe Without "O"

The Orioles lost a 2-1 heart breaker in the Bronx on Monday night.

There’s the optimistic take, courtesy of Dempsey’s Army: “Keep Your Eye on the Ball.”

We trotted out a rookie pitcher who didn’t have his best stuff but battled and scratched his way through 6 innings all the while holding arguably the best lineup in the league to one run. 3 hits, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts. To paraphrase the song, if you can pitch there, you can pitch anywhere.

And our rookie catcher went 1-3 with a walk.

Losses still suck but let’s keep in in perspective. Last night was a win for the Orioles in many ways.

The pessimistic take, courtesy of Stacey at Camden Chat: “Losers Find a Way to Lose.

That is the end of the positives. After a first inning Nick Markakis home run, the Orioles were unable to score any more runs despite having numerous opportunities. And here they are:

  1. Third inning: Matt Wieters led off the inning with a single and advanced on a wild pitch with zero outs. Cesar Izturis and Brian Roberts struck out and Markakis flew out to right field, stranding Wieters.
  2. Fifth inning: With one out, Nolan Reimold walked and Matt Wieters singled him to third. Izturis struck out and Brian Roberts flew out to center to strand them both.
  3. Sixth inning: Adam Jones hit an infield single with one out. Aubrey Huff
    grounded into a double play on the first pitch he saw.
  4. Seventh inning: Melvin Mora led off with a single. Luke Scott struck out and Reimold GIDP.
  5. Eighth inning: With one out, Izturis singled to left. Roberts doubled down the right field line but Izturis, thinking the ball was caught, started to go back to first and ended up between first and second at the same time as Brian. He got the gist and ended up on third but probably could have scored if he looked at the 3B coach. Markakis then swung at the first pitch and hit a grounder to Teixeira, who threw Izturis out at home. With Adam Jones at the plate, Phil Coke threw a wild pitch. Roberts raced home from third but in trying to avoid the tag with his headfirst slide missed the plate altogether and was tagged out by Coke.
  6. Ninth inning: Adam Jones led off the inning and was hit by the pitch on his foot. After Huff lined out, Jones stole second. Mora flew out to centerfield. Luke was intentionally walked. Nolan Reimold flew out to left.

That’s a lot of chances, right? And they couldn’t score one more run. Frustrating. This loss is on the offense, because the pitching did its job. I suppose you could assign some blame to Jim Johnson, but if the Orioles had scored even one more run he wouldn’t have pitched the 9th inning, and he hardly ever pitches more than one inning. No, this one is on the offense.

And the “been there, done that” take, courtesy of Roch Kubatko: “Walk-Off Loss.”

I’ve seen too many games in the Bronx end in this fashion. Different stadium, same outcome.

The Orioles had Cesar Izturis and Brian Roberts thrown out at the plate in the eighth inning, on a grounder to first and an apparent wild pitch. Again, I’ve seen just about everything in the Bronx. This stuff happens and you can’t really explain it. Only the names change.

I experienced all three emotions as I watched the Orioles fail to take advantage of late-inning opportunities, but I ultimately settled on the “been there, done that” mentality. In fact, I turned up the volume on the television and went into the other room to do some work during the bottom of the ninth inning because, well, I knew what was coming. You could sense it after each missed opportunity.

This is still a young O’s team, so there continues to be room for optimism. This kind of loss would hurt a whole lot more in a couple years time when the Birds will presumably be in contention for something (A winning record? A Wild Card berth? The division?).

The lesson is simple – and similar to Stacey’s headline: Good teams don’t beat themselves. Jim Palmer says it often as it was a mentality of the Glory Days Orioles.

Consider the words of Elrod Hendricks about playing for Earl Weaver and then Billy Martin (emphasis added).

Their teams were built around pitching and defense. That’s the one thing they did not tolerate, not being able to do the little things. Bunt the guy over, make the routine play, don’t beat yourself, let the other team beat themselves. That’s the way they played the game and that’s the way they managed the game.

O’s fans can take one additional bit of cheer from last night’s game: Because the Yankees are playing in a new ballpark, we didn’t have to hear about the “ghosts” at the stadium contributing to the outcome, just a pitch left out over the plate and a batter who took advantage of the mistake.


About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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