By this time next week, we’ll be staring at real baseball games (assuming COVID-19 doesn’t again rear its ugly head and get in the way of our long-awaited reunion with the national pastime).
So consider this your own version of the latter stages of spring training 2.0, where you reacquaint yourself with how to watch baseball games in preparation for next weekend’s Orioles series in Fenway Park that kicks off the truncated 2020 campaign.
Sometimes, the most important thing in a game happens early on, as Chris Tillman demonstrates in one of this week’s “Orioles Classics” on MASN. Sometimes, the key moment comes late, as evidenced by timely and decisive strokes by a host of Orioles in this week’s retro throwbacks.
But for most of us who have been deprived of baseball for many months, the pure joy of plopping down in your easiest of chairs or most comfortable of couches and just immersing yourself in the game is tantalizingly close. Yes, next Friday cannot come soon enough, can it?
Thursday, July 16 - 12:30 p.m. - Mark Trumbo played the hero in this interleague battle against the Nationals from May 9, 2017. The Orioles and Nats battled into the 12th inning at Camden Yards and were tied at 4-4 when Trumbo stepped to the plate with the bases full and hammered a Jacob Turner pitch down the left field line for a game-winning walk-off single.
Thursday, July 16 - 4:30 p.m. - Chris Davis led the American League with 47 home runs in 2015, and a pair of them came in this victory over the A’s on Aug. 15. Davis homered twice and drove in three runs, including the walk-off blast off switch-pitcher Pat Venditte in the ninth for a 4-3 triumph.
Friday, July 17 - 12:30 a.m. - Especially for the night owls, we’ve got a ninth-inning rally over the A’s on April 29, 2012. The Birds tallied five times in the ninth for a 5-2 win, with a three-run dinger by Wilson Betemit providing the margin of victory.
Friday, July 17 - 3:30 p.m. - Matt Wieters came through in the clutch on July 27, 2015, homering in the 12th inning to give the Orioles a 2-1 interleague win over the Braves.
Saturday, July 18 - 7 p.m. - We mentioned Tillman, and on July 18, 2015, he yielded a leadoff single to the Tigers’ Ian Kinsler and nothing else over eight innings, picking up a 3-0 win. Manny Machado homered and Caleb Joseph added a two-run single in the ninth.
Saturday, July 18 - 11:30 p.m. - This game from Aug. 19, 2015 was the high-water mark of Henry Urrutia’s brief major league career. The Cuban outfielder led off the ninth with a screamer into the left field stands for his only career home run and a 5-4 O’s win.
Sunday, July 19 - 12:30 p.m. - The Orioles went down to the last day of the 2016 season before clinching a spot in the winner-take-all wild card game with a 5-2 win at Yankee Stadium. Kevin Gausman worked into the eighth inning, scattering eight hits and allowing two runs, and Wieters went deep twice and plated four runs.
Monday, July 20 - 1 p.m. - On June 7, 2017, Trey Mancini had the Pirates’ number in a 9-6 victory in 11 innings. Mancini entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and hit a game-tying two-run homer. Then, in the 11th, he ended it with a three-run shot down the left field line.
Tuesday, July 21 - noon - There was a lot to like in the O’s 18-2 rout of the A’s on Aug. 16, 2015. The Birds erupted for 26 hits and homered four times, with Adam Jones connecting twice. Gerardo Parra and Joseph also went deep.
Tuesday, July 21 - 7 p.m. - Saving his best for last, Jones homered off Fernando Rodney of the Twins leading off the 11th for a 3-2 walk-off win in the 2018 season opener.
Wednesday, July 22 - 10:30 a.m. - The Nationals were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the eighth inning at Camden Yards on June 24, 2012. That’s when Wieters unleashed a two-run homer to left-center that gave the O’s a win. Jim Johnson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Wednesday, July 22 - 11:30 p.m. - Getaway day in San Francisco was going poorly on Aug. 14, 2016 - but then the Orioles overcame a six-run deficit for an 8-7 triumph. The big blow was Jonathan Schoop’s three-run homer in the eighth, which put the O’s ahead for good.