Orioles manager Buck Showalter has gotten really good at shedding a positive light on his team’s inability to hit with runners in scoring position.
Whenever a reporter points out the failings on a given night, Showalter counters with how he’s pleased with the Orioles’ ability to put men on base and present those opportunities.
The Orioles stranded 15 tonight in a 4-3 loss to Tampa Bay. Frustrating?
“Yeah, it is,” Showalter said. “I know you’re saying my line before I give it, but there’s good things happening to put people out there. We had some good at-bats. Our guys were engaged. It’s a frustrated locker room right now, but they’re good and we think we have a chance to be, too.
“It’s a frustrating game. (Matt) Wieters hits the ball to probably the only place in the ballpark where it’s not a home run. That’s the deepest part and it found it right on the button. And Stevie (Pearce) centered a ball right at the left fielder that you can’t tag on or do anything, because if you tag start tagging on that ball and he catches it on the short hop, you don’t score.”
The Orioles couldn’t score after putting a runner on third base with one out in four consecutive innings. They must have spent the night believing that one hit was going to break open the game. One hit that never came.
“Sure,” Showalter said.” Our guys, they don’t get too absorbed in one inning or one situation. It’s a game of, maybe you’ll have some success, but you have to handle failure, too. You also have to realize you’re playing against some other people that are good. It’s the best level of baseball in the world.
“I know in the offseason, one of the things we talked about was man on third and one out, some things... I thought, looking at the stats, that we would be well below the norm, but if you look at the norm around baseball, I’m not sure where we are this year.
“We want to get every one of them in, our guys do. But it’s hard to do. There’s good pitchers out there. And sometimes you dial it up and it’s hit right at somebody. Stevie hit a bullet right at the shortstop and hit a bullet right at the left fielder. Those things will turn if you keep grinding, and it will bounce our way. We had some that weren’t squared up that fell for hits, too.”
Rays left-hander David Price lasted only five innings and allowed 10 hits. On most nights, that should equate to a victory for the opponent.
“They’ve got a good bullpen,” Showalter said. “Obviously, you don’t do the things they’ve been doing for a long period of time without having pitching being a strength. But I thought our guys did a great job grinding him. I think he had, what, like 117 pitches last outing? There’s a good grind going there.”
Chris Tillman fell to 14-4 after allowing four runs and five hits in six innings.
“Tilly bent but didn’t break,” Showalter said. “In the past, Tilly might let that get away from him, but I think that’s the difference in him as a pitcher this year. He gave us six innings and a chance to win the game.”
The last time that the Orioles left at least 15 runners on base in a loss was May 18, 2011 vs. the Yankees (15).
The Orioles’ 15 hits are their most in a game with three runs or fewer since Aug. 7, 2007 vs. the Mariners.
The Orioles are 14-22 in one-run games and 18-21 vs. left-handed starters.