BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Orioles appeared in the American League wild-card game for the third time, but it didn’t end as magically as fans would have liked.
Here are four reasons the AL Wild Card game didn’t end in favor of the Orioles:
The Bats Were Cold
For a team that led the league in home runs, there was just one HR that night. Mark Trumbo was the only one to hit a two-run homer for Baltimore against the Toronto starter Marcus Stroman in the fourth. Trumbo put the Orioles into a 2-1 lead when he homered on a fastball, but that was the only one for the O’s. After that, the Orioles had just one hit since the sixth inning and that was it.
The Wild Card game could have been a home game, and maybe that would have made all the difference, but it wasn’t. The Orioles traveled to Toronto to face some rowdy, vocal fans. The sea of blue and birds could have been a distraction, but not as big of a distraction as the beer bottle thrown at Hyun Soo Kim as he went to catch a ball out in right field. Since the incident, MLB has called for a ban of beer cans at Rogers Centre and the fan that was identified by authorities has been prosecuted.
Tillman allowed four hits, one walk and two runs and struck out four in 4 1/3 innings. Showalter then turned to right-hander Mychal Givens. Then Donnie Hart. Then Brad Brach. Then Darren O’Day. With their season on the line and the game stretching to extra innings, Showalter used almost everyone…except Britton.
Buck’s Final Decision
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is the talk of the town after choosing Ubaldo Jimenez over closer Zach Britton to save the game. Britton finished the regular season 47-for-47 in save opportunities, literally perfect. His 0.54 ERA was the lowest in major league history among pitchers with at least 50 innings pitched — but he never got into the wild-card game. Britton said, “It’s frustrating to have to sit.” Showalter added, “There’s so many things going on. You can use Zach Britton in the seventh, the eighth and not have anybody to pitch the last inning. So there’s a lot of risk taken every inning, every pitch.” True, but that didn’t stop Baltimore fans from blaming the skipper for the loss.
Overall, the Orioles had a record-breaking season in more aspect than one. “I couldn’t be more proud of everybody here, disappointed that we aren’t going on, going to Texas, but… we’re one of the last teams in baseball while everybody else is at home, it says a lot about the character in this clubhouse, the tenacity from guy to guy,” said Adam Jones.