Some thoughts on what I saw from the Orioles last night and this morning - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Some thoughts on what I saw from the Orioles last night and this morning

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

ANAHEIM, California—By the time the Orioles’ 16-inning, 10-8 win over the Los Angeles Angels was complete, it was 4:27 a.m. back East. Early risers, who are never able to watch even the beginning of West Coast Orioles games, got to catch the tail end of this one.

Some hours before, when Mychal Givens punched out Mike Trout to end the eighth, I tweeted that Trout was hitless in six at-bats against Givens. My perceptive friend, MASNSports.com’s Steve Melewski, described me as “sleepy” in his tweet.

At that point, I just wanted the game to be over and to catch up on sleep. Covering the first game of a West Coast road trip can be tough for me. My body doesn’t usually catch up until a couple of days into the trip, and I was exhausted.

Fortunately, I perked up and stayed with the game, as did the Orioles.

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It wasn’t the most compelling regular-season Orioles game I covered. In 2012, I saw Chris Davis pitch the final two innings of a 17-inning win at Fenway Park.

That was much more surprising because Davis hadn’t pitched as a professional, and then-manager Buck Showalter had never used a position player to pitch, even in a lopsided game.

For Showalter’s successor, Brandon Hyde, using position players is no big deal. Already this season, he’s used Davis, Hanser Alberto and Jesus Sucre as well as Wilkerson.

Wilkerson had never pitched professionally before July 12 when he retired all three batters in the ninth inning of a 16-4 loss to Tampa  Bay. Last Saturday, Wilkerson pitched the final two innings of a 17-6 defeat to Boston, allowing a run.

But this was different. Hyde was trying to win the game, not endure it.

Wilkerson threw up his soft tosses, which are in the low-to-mid 50s on the radar gun, and the exhausted Angels could do nothing with them.

Tanner Scott, who coughed up a three-run lead in the 15th, was given the win and Wilkerson got the save, a first for a position player.

Wilkerson should have been given the win. According to MLB scoring rules:

“The official scorer shall not credit as the winning pitcher a relief pitcher who is ineffective in a brief appearance, when at least one succeeding relief pitcher pitches effectively in helping his team maintain its lead. In such a case, the official scorer shall credit as the winning pitcher the succeeding relief pitcher who was most effective, in the judgment of the official scorer.”

Wilkerson became part of history, but he should have been credited with the win.

When Davis pitched the 16th and 17th inning on May 4, 2012, it was an important time for the Orioles. Coming off 14 consecutive losing seasons, the Orioles won two of three games at Yankee Stadium before sweeping the Red Sox three straight at Fenway.

That game and that week helped legitimize a new Orioles era that led to three postseason appearances in five seasons.

These Orioles are trying to establish a new sense of legitimacy under Hyde and general manager Mike Elias. This game was most likely just a fun and energizing divergence on the long road to respectability, and not a key win—unless they decide that Wilkerson is better off as a closer.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. surfbird

    July 26, 2019 at 8:06 pm

    i woke up and watched us give up the 3 run lead in the 15th. lots of yelling. talking with friends all day and to us it shocking that we could dump machado, jones, schoop, britton etc and have a better record at this point this year. just shows that a break up/rebuild was due.

  2. ClayDal

    July 26, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Good point about Wilkerson getting the save instead of the win. I have seen where they have given the win to the relief pitcher who replaced the ineffective “ pitcher of record” , instead of giving him the save. Can MLB change the ruling? They have done that with hits and errors where MLB reviews it and changes the original ruling. Just wonder if they can do that with Wilkerson

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 26, 2019 at 10:28 pm

      Yes, they could, but I doubt that they will.

  3. ButchBird59

    July 27, 2019 at 2:07 am

    OK Rich, your turn, which dwarf is Melewski: Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Happy, Sneezy or Grumpy?

  4. Jim-Considine

    July 27, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    Rich,
    Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer had issues with the official scorer throughout the game. I am not sure if you are able to keep tabs with either the radio or television feed back to Baltimore. Nothing too serious, but they seemed to intone the scorekeeper was a greenhorn.

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