In a victorious clubhouse yesterday at Camden Yards, Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson was asked whether he expected to return to Baltimore for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.
“No sir, I don’t,” he said. “And I don’t think they think that, either.”
Dyson has every reason to be overflowing with confidence and bravado as his team heads home with a 2-0 lead in the series, but the Orioles fully expect to win at least two games at Kauffman Stadium. Their backs are up against the wall, but the sky isn’t falling.
The starting pitching has been an issue dating to the Division Series. It didn’t matter as much against the Tigers, whose bullpen and bench made them way too vulnerable.
Chris Tillman and Bud Norris have combined to post a 9.35 ERA in the first two games, allowing nine runs and 16 hits in 8 2/3 innings. The three starters in the ALDS - Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Norris - averaged five innings per outing. Norris, at least, gave the Orioles 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the clincher.
Miguel Gonzalez must be ready to jump out of his skin.
Andrew Miller has been a beast in the playoffs, as expected. No runs and one hit in 6 1/3 innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts. But Darren O’Day has absorbed both losses and Zach Britton hasn’t been the same reliever who saved 37 games in the regular season and two more in the ALDS.
O’Day was a hard-luck loser yesterday. An infield hit off him led to the go-ahead run, which scored with Britton on the mound. Can’t fault him for it.
Alcides Escobar’s double off Britton came on a ground ball down the line. As Scott Erickson used to say, he can make them hit it on the ground, but he can’t direct where it’s going to go.
Adam Jones said the acquisition of Miller at the non-waiver deadline was a “huge deal.”
“First off, he solidified the lefty‑lefty matchups,” Jones said. “Obviously, our closer is left‑handed. We’ve got (Brian) Matusz and (T.J.) McFarland. But he’s been in the role of throwing bigger pitches than mostly everybody here in our organization.
“Him as a teammate, great teammate. I think he’s really meshed well with our clubhouse. He’s solidified getting the ball to Britton or giving it to O’Day. And he’s made our team that much better.”
The Royals haven’t been flawless in the field, but their outfielders keep making ridiculous catches. It’s similar to the Mets in the 1969 World Series, except the Royals really are this good. The rest of the world is just finding out.
The Orioles stranded 10 runners in Game 1 and 10 more in Game 2. Captain Obvious says that’s too many.
They load the bases, but they can’t deliver the big blow. There hasn’t been a Delmon Young moment.
Sacks full with one out in the second inning yesterday and they score once on Caleb Joseph’s sacrifice fly. Sacks full with one out in the seventh and two fly balls end the threat.
Joseph was 0-for-33 before collecting two hits and producing the sacrifice fly.
“Caleb has swung the bat real well for an extended period of time,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He hit so many home runs, that might have been the worst thing that happened to him. We kidded him about it.
“That’s part of this time of year. He’s been doing this for X number of days, so that’s going to carry over. I thought he had as good of at‑bats as anybody tonight. Caught real well, obviously threw well. I was proud of Caleb.
“I said before the game, our guys like throwing to both of them. There’s no discrepancy there. I really want to get him into the flow of the series tonight and he responded.”
How will the Orioles respond to being down 0-2 in Kansas City? We’ll find out after today’s 4 p.m. workout at Kauffman Stadium and Game 3 on Monday.
I’ve got an early flight, as you probably noticed. I’ll check back later.