Reflecting on an opening day win

It may sound odd to suggest that an off day is arriving at an opportune time after only one game has been played. However, set-up man Darren O’Day isn’t fully recovered from the flu and manager Buck Showalter didn’t want to use him yesterday. Third baseman Manny Machado was icing his left wrist after rolling it on his spectacular diving stop in the 11th inning.

These guys need a break.

Machado seems to be fine. He batted in the bottom half of the 11th and grabbed one of the plastic water coolers in the dugout after Mark Trumbo’s fly ball landed in the left field seats for his sixth career walk-off home run.

Those coolers are pretty heavy and Machado hoisted it with ease.

Trumbo is 8-for-21 during his five-game hitting streak against the Blue Jays.

Chris Davis drove in the first run yesterday and has 82 career RBIs against the Jays, the most against any opponent.


Mychal Givens let an inherited runner score on Ezequiel Carrera’s two-out double in the sixth inning, tagging Kevin Gausman with a second earned run and tying the game. It also was significant because Carrera bats from the left side, where hitters posted a .366 average last season, compared to .156 from the right side.

Givens retired the two right-handed batters he faced in the inning, Kevin Pillar and Devon Travis, on fly balls.

Josh Donaldson led off the seventh with a single, but Jose Bautista struck out looking at a 97 mph fastball, Kendrys Morales struck out swinging at a 95 mph fastball and Troy Tulowitzski popped up to second baseman Jonathan Schoop in shallow right field.

The game remained tied, but it also was significant because the switch-hitting Morales was batting from the left side.

Pillar faced Brad Brach in the eighth inning and sailed two bats over the visiting dugout and into the crowd. He must have run out of good ones, because he grounded into a double play on the next pitch.

“I’ve never seen a guy throw a bat in the stands two pitches in a row,” said manager Buck Showalter. “Have you all?”

Showalter was furious that an apparent foul ball off Schoop’s foot in the seventh was ruled a live ball and a 1-3 putout. His mood grew worse when first base umpire Eric Cooper ruled that Russell Martin checked his swing in the eighth on a pitch from Brach, with replays showing that he went around.

Martin walked on the next pitch, but Steve Pearce popped up and Pillar grounded into the double play.

I lost count of how many balls Davis scooped out of the dirt to prevent errors, but it was at least three.

Davis did it on Bautista’s 5-4-3 double play that ended the top of the ninth and kept the score tied. He did it on Machado’s throw in the 11th that robbed Travis.

It was nice to see some fans on Twitter praising Davis while also flipping out over Machado’s play. The big guy deserves some love, too.

Zach Britton tossed two scoreless innings, allowing three hits and walking a batter in the process. He was struggling to get comfortable with his mechanics as the Orioles broke camp, catching up after being sidelined with soreness in his left side.

“I threw a bullpen yesterday and I felt a little bit better,” he said. “I felt pretty good out there. I think some of my misses were still a little bit over the plate. The more innings I get, I think ... two innings actually was really good for me. I actually was hoping he’d give me that third, but I knew my pitch count. He wasn’t going to do it this early on. But I felt much better going out for that second inning. That’s only good for me going forward.”

Britton wasn’t thinking about the wild card game and how he didn’t make it out of the bullpen. He leaves that to everyone else.

“I’ve turned the page on that a long time ago,” he said.

Not a bad idea.

As the game moved into extras yesterday, Showalter had Joey Rickard in left field and Craig Gentry in right. Rickard replaced Hyun Soo Kim and Gentry replaced Seth Smith after pinch-running for Trey Mancini, who delivered a pinch-hit single.

“We are a product of the parts. Lot of pieces available that we didn’t have last year,” Showalter said.

“That was a really good defensive team we had on the field at the end of the game.”

blog comments powered by Disqus