Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Some Positives, One Big Negative
Mariano Rivera is going to the hall of fame because of his incredible ability to nail the door shut in the ninth inning of close ballgames. The Baltimore Orioles have neither Rivera nor anybody near his ability to close, and it has cost them big time over the past few years.
The Orioles wasted a tremendous effort tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays in front of a sold out Tampa crowd to go 1-0 on the young season and take some momentum into tomorrow nights game.
Adam Jones went 3-5 with a double, home run, and single and Luke Scott and Matt Wieters each added solo shots as well. Unfortunately, the O's also went 1-12 with runners in scoring position. With men on 2nd and 3rd in the 4th inning and no outs, the Orioles failed to score when Garrett Atkins popped up, Cesar Izturis grounded out, and Brian Roberts lined out. The Orioles failed to capitalize in a similar situation in the 9th inning, and it cost them dearly.
This really is not a game story blog. If you want that, head to the Baltimore Sun. I'm here to talk about what I see, and I saw a tremendous effort wasted.
Baseball can be a game of luck. The way the ball bounces, being inches short of taking balls out of the park, and hitting into bad luck. The Orioles look to be much improved with Jones scorching the ball, Wieters looking like a veteran, and other contributing players giving much more than past players of the 2000's have. This was a game that two or three years ago could have gotten out of hand in favor of Tampa, but the O's gutted it out; until the 9th inning when their closer blew the game. Mike Gonzalez left too many pitchers up in the zone, and they got drilled all over the park until the game ended.
This team will simply never compete in the division until games like this are nailed shut. Closers are so rare to find, but they just need to figure out how to win these games. This was a heartbreaking game. You cannot spoil an opener like this against a good team on the road and expect to win many games.
Luckily, you can come back the next day in baseball and go for it again. I hate to say this game had much meaning on day one, but emotions creep in, and so do "here we go again" thoughts. The ship needs to be righted tomorrow, but tonight would have been a great one. UNBELIEVABLE