It’s kids night at the Rog with Machado at 3B, Gausman on the mound, Nolin called up to start tomorrow, and Gose on the bench waiting for his turn. SP Kevin Gausman was drafted in the 1st round in 2012 and has only pitched 12 ball games before getting the call and replacing struggling Jake Arrieta on the big club. Toronto counters with Brandon Morrow, as the Jays look to continue their improved play.
Melky’s May Meter
Melky didn’t take long to boost his May hit total, as he singled in the bottom of the first. He was stranded at first, but it’s good to see him continuing to get on base. He has a ways to go to reach the 51 hits he raked last May with the Giants. 3 hits in each of their remaining 8 games this month wouldn’t do it. Seriously though, the 35 hits I hoped for is within reach.
The Orioles, for their part, have struggled lately. Their recent 8-game homestand against San Diego, Tampa Bay, and the Yankees produced a lot of grief (2-6). Early in the game, though, the young guns performed. Manny Machado had a pair of doubles and Gausman was sharp.
Several days ago I wrote apiece openly wondering when we’re going to see the real Brandon Morrow. Is it time to accept that the inconsistent Brandon Morrow IS the real Brandon Morrow? This is his second start since missing 13 days, and he’s struggling. Machado doubled twice and Chris Davis homered as Morrow spotted the Orioles a 3-0 lead.
Morrow’s right around he plate, as the 5 hits, 5 Ks and only one walk attest, but he’s eminently hittable. That’s been the rub this season for Morrow: too few Ks (6.95 K/9), too many BBs (3.38 BB/9), too many hits (9.79 H/9), too many HRs (1.59 HR/9). Morrow’s fastball velocity (93.5) is not only very much in line with his Toronto career (93.47), but is at or near the top of the AL this season. His fastball ain’t the problem; location is.
The Jays saw enough of Kevin Gausman by the second time through the order to figure him out a little. Doubles by Lind and Arencibia scored a run, then a bunt base hit by Lawrie and a walk to Colby Rasmus loaded the bases. Bonifacio hit a sac fly to deep right center, Munenori botched a suicide squeeze—popping out to Wieters, but Lawrie scrambled back to 3B—before Melky laced a liner to left center that hung up just enough for Adam Jones to tack it down for the third out. The mini rally puts the Jays in the game, trailing the O’s 3-2.
Morrow followed the Jays’ outburst with a quick inning, yielding only another Machado double (his third in 5 innings [!], pushing his league-leading total to 21). The Jays’ hitters responded with a couple of runs in the bottom of the inning. Adam Lind singled sharply into LF with two out and was followed by a 2-run HR by JP Arencibia, putting the Jays in front 4-3.
Morrow set down the O’s in order in the top of the 6th inning, making it the second time this game that the Jays have scored and Morrow has done his job quickly. The hitters responded again with two outs, as Kawasaki and Melky walked to bring Jose Bautista to the plate. (In case you missed it, Jose had a pretty decent effort in the deciding game against the Rays: his wRC+ for the game was 774. Baseball-Reference had his RE24 at 4.05.) Bautista walked to load the bases for Edwin Encarnacion, who lined a grand slam off the net in LF. I love me my chicken wings, yes I do. The Jays pushed their lead to 8-3.
**Early in the inning, Nate McClouth fell into the stands fielding a fly ball. The umpire gave the out sign but clearly was unable to see what transpired. Every fan in the vicinity and Jamie Campbell from his position immediately above the play agreed: McClouth dropped the ball and, knowing that he couldn’t be seen by the umpire, picked it up and showed the umpire that he’d made the catch. Colby Rasmus was called out on the play. Some idiot with a good line of sight but terrible judgment threw a beverage on the field at McClouth. Not only was it ill-advised, it was unnecessary: EE took care of business.
The O’s took back one of those runs in the 7th inning on a sac fly by Alexi Casilla, then two more in the 8th on home runs by Nick Markakis and Adam Jones to make the score 8-6. Immediately following the home run, Pat Tabler’s first comment was “Morrow’s still under 100 pitches.” After Jones’s home run, Tabler said “he’s still in line for the W.” Incredible. If that doesn’t illustrate old school thinking about pitcher wins and losses, I don’t know what does. Morrow’s line for the game was 7+ IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 1 BB, 5 SO. In other words he pitched marginally better than the O’s pitchers, who pitched very poorly. The O’s had 7 extra base hits in the game. Morrow wasn’t fooling anybody except, perhaps, Matt Wieters.
The bottom of the 8th was interesting. Anthony Gose singled on a 3-2 pitch from lefty TJ McFarland. Bautista hit a sharp grounder to sure-handed JJ Hardy at SS, who bobbled it. Then Wieters misplayed a pitch to Edwin for a passed ball, allowing the runners to advance. On the throw to 2nd, Gose ran home and Casilla’s throw was high, allowing Gose to slide under/around Wieters’ tag. Bautista advanced to third. DeRosa pinch hit for Lind and walked. JP Arencibia’s sac fly was the first out of the inning. Lawrie singled, scoring a run. Colby’s sac fly was the second out. Casilla almost made a brilliant play on Bonifacio’s humpback liner into shallow center but it scored a run, too. Munenori Kawasaki then grounded out to Chris Davis at first to end the inning. If I watched this game, having just returned from a three-year stint at the end of the world, I would have thought that the O’s were the same team that they were since 1998. They haven’t played this poorly in ages.
Brad Lincoln came in for mop-up duty and for the first time this year, he didn’t walk anyone. Brandon Morrow’s poor start was accommodated by an orgy of offense, as the Jays tied their season high for runs. Importantly, the Jays beat a team in their division that is, (1) ahead of them, and (2) struggling lately. The Jays are capitalizing on situations in the game, as well as the larger situations in the AL East. This was yet another good win.