Wet, Wet, Wet - Freddy Beats Jered 4-to-3
Written by Mike Laws
Wet wet wet
After lengthy delay, O’s hang on to take homestand opener
L.A. Angels 3, Orioles 4
I feel it in ma fingers; I feel it in ma toes. ’Cos love is all aroun —
Oh, hey. Didn’t see you there. Come on in. Boy, is my face red — seems I can’t come up with a silly little pop/rock-referencing headline without then actually singing the song of which it reminds me. How embarrassing.
What’s that you say? Are you telling me Eighties Scottish outfit Wet Wet Wet weren’t even the true authors of “Love Is All Around”? You prefer the Troggs’ original?
Ohhhhh — you want me to shut up and talk about the game. Gotcha.
Fair enough. On to the bullet points, you cheeky monkey:
- First, as much as I’m loath to reduce an entire ballgame in this fashion — because no game ever really comes down to just one inning — I’m gonna have to say this one pretty much came down to just one inning: the bottom of the sixth/top of the seventh. Which was weird, in this case, because those two halves took something like three hours to complete, thanks to the monsoon or whatever the hell it was battering the Balto/D.C. metro region all day Monday. By the time home-plate ump Joe West halted the proceedings, with two away in the Oriole sixth, the infield had taken on the look of the ship’s deck in that huge storm in the opening sequence of Last Crusade — that is, the site of a big, tense, thoroughly drenched battle. Though it must be said the Orioles were making the rain work for them: Having fallen 1-0 in the third on a Mike Trout homer to right, assumed the lead in the fourth after Adam Jones absolutely crushed a two-run bomb to left, then watched as the Angels evened things up in the fifth when Josh Hamilton, too, sent a solo shot over the out-of-town scoreboard, the Birds came to the dish in the sixth appearing determined to scratch out another go-ahead tally; Buck Showalter, it seems, is no fan of suspended baseball games. If this thing wasn’t gonna go a regulation nine, best to get it done with in the here-and-now. To that end, Nate McLouth led things off by dragging a splendid bunt past L.A. starter Jered Weaver, where by the time it reached second baseman Howie Kendrick the ball had acquired too much slickening moisture to be handled cleanly (Kendrick likely wouldn’t have had a play anyway, but still). McLouth then took off on the first delivery from Weaver to Manny Machado, sliding in ahead of the throw for his twentieth consecutive successful stolen base. Nice! And when, a couple deliveries later, Manny sliced a tough outer-half slider off the end of the lumber and over Kendrick’s leap in shallow right, the offense looked primed to convert on what was cookin’ — but wait, no need to hold McLouth (who’d had to hang around near second until verifying the looper had landed); Hamilton overran the ball, which skidded under his glove as he charged toward the infield, permitting McLouth to come in to score and Machado to advance a bag. Nick Markakis then blooped a single of his own, this one finding a soggy home in shallow left, moving Machado to third for Jones to deliver him with the first well-hit ball of the frame, a long sac-fly to the warning track in right. So that was now 4-2, good guys …
- … and it would stay that way awhile, after West made his determination that the field at Camden Yards was by this point too dangerous to continue playing on. Sort of a shame, too, because it would’ve been interesting to see how deep into the night Freddy Garcia might’ve worked — the Oriole starter, notwithstanding the two home runs, had been altogether more calm and collected (not to mention hitting his spots way, way better) than in his disastrous last outing; he’d worked out of slight jams both self-created (a handful of singles, a couple of walks) and, uncharacteristically, coming by way of an error in the first from J.J. Hardy. So while it would’ve been nice for the man they call Sweaty Freddy to continue with the befuddlingly crafty pitch-mixing show, on we went, after a non-suspension, at about 11 o’clock Bawlmer-time, into the seventh, with Tommy Hunter taking to the hill on short rest (having earned a hold for tossing an aggregate one inning in Tampa on Sunday). The hard-throwing righty’s initial results weren’t encouraging: Hunter got Erick Aybar to come back to him on a single pitch, but then walked Chris Iannetta and surrendered a single to scrappy Peter Bourjos and issued another free pass, this time to Trout (though, to be fair, Hunter’s 2-2 pitch to the Angel sensation should’ve probably been strike three called). Bases loaded, one away for Hamilton — who bounced a weakly hit chopper to first, pulling Chris Davis from the bag, with Hunter unable to cover first in time to have a shot at the batter, and Trout too fleet for Davis’s relay to second. Ugh. One run in, bases still loaded, still one away for freakin’ Albert Pujols — and no, dude hasn’t been himself since arriving in SoCal, but even so: This didn’t look good. But Hunter’s a gamer; the big man bore down and, on three pitches, all of them fouled (the last a tick thankfully squeezed and held by Matt Wieters), sent the big man right back to the visitors’ dugout. Big, big out there. And though for a moment it looked like Mark Trumbo’s bounder behind second might go for the second run-scoring infield single of the Angels’ half-inning, Ryan Flaherty did well to range to his right and throw off-balance from the muck that was the Oriole Park infield, just in time to record the out at first. Phew.
- So now, with the O’s unable to do much of anything against a sharp-looking Garrett Richards, it came down to Darren O’Day, who cruised through the eighth, permitting only a two-out bunt single from Aybar, and Jim Johnson — who (exhale) looked even better than O’Day, even. You kinda know things are going well for the Oriole closer when all he does is induce ground ball after ground ball, and that was the case tonight: Johnson got Bourjos to tap back to him, Trout to roll one over to short, and Hamilton (on a mailed-in at-bat, on the first pitch he saw) to bounce meekly to second. Three up, three down to cap a well-pitched, eminently satisfying W. That’s how we like it. … And so the feeling grows …
Visit the Orioles Hangout Message Board