Granted, it’s only one inning today, but the Orioles appear to be taking a much more patient approach at the plate against Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel.
The Orioles worked Keuchel for 28 pitches while taking a 1-0 lead at Minute Maid Park. I’m pretty sure rookie Lance McCullers finally reached that total last night after the fifth.
I’m exaggerating, but not by much. McCuller’s pitch count stood at 81 after a five-pitch seventh inning. The Orioles were swinging early, their aggression working against them.
Six of the Orioles’ outs last night came on the first pitch. Maybe it’s due to guys pressing while the offense continues to sputter. Maybe they’re living by the credo that you may get only one good pitch to hit per at-bat.
Manny Machado led off today’s game with an infield hit after taking the first two pitches. He later stole his eighth base of the season, padding his career-high total, and scored on Chris Davis’ two-out single.
Delmon Young took the first pitch he saw before striking out. Adam Jones, the poster child for aggressive hitters, took the first three before striking out.
Davis worked Keuchel for eight pitches, also taking the first one he saw, before delivering his RBI single. Steve Pearce struck out looking to end the inning after taking the first three pitches.
McCullers needed 107 pitches to dispose of the Orioles for his first professional complete game.
Keuchel also tossed a complete game in his last outing and he’s already recorded five strikeouts in two innings, taking full advantage of plate umpire Brian Gorman’s generous strike zone.
Take pitches at your own risk. It worked in the first inning despite the three strikeouts.
Manager Buck Showalter was ejected by Gorman after Ryan Flaherty struck out looking to end the top of the second. Showalter likes his team’s patience at the plate. He’d just like to see them rewarded for it instead of Gorman’s strike zone remaining the size of Texas.
MASN cameras showed Showalter leaving the dugout and walking to the plate, his hands spread apart to demonstrate how far Keuchel’s pitches were outside the zone. He also had a few choice words for Gorman, who tossed him.
That’s pretty much automatic.
Showalter joins Ubaldo Jimenez, Brian Matusz and Manny Machado on the Orioles’ ejection list this season.
Update: Adam Jones hit a solo home run with two outs in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie, his first since May 11.
Wei-Yin Chen escaped a two-on, no-out jam in the sixth. Darren O’Day entered in the seventh with runners on second and third and one out, and he kept the game tied.
Update II: Zach Britton got the five-out save and the Orioles ended their losing streak at five games with a 3-2 victory over the Astros. O’Day improves to 2-0.
Britton has 14 saves. Chen has seven quality starts this season and only one win.
Here are Buck’s thoughts on the strike zone. pic.twitter.com/8en17EFb21-- Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) June 4, 2015