Saturday, May 19, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 14

Orioles Victory Number 14: 7-4 over the Boston Red Sox

2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Foil Brooks Robinson

I bought three boxes of Allen & Ginter last year. That's two more boxes than normal. The reason? The first two were Foil hot boxes. Which is cool if you're into that sort of thing. All I wanted to do was put together the base set.  Which is kind of hard when every card in every pack is a foil parallel.

Luckily I was able to sell off a large portion to a master collector and was able to recoup a lot of what I spent. I actually bookended my time in Chicago with hot boxes. The first box I ever bought was a 2010-11 Panini Certified box that had all parallel cards in it.  (Another case of being able to recoup my investment.) Then I ended it with a Ginter foil hot box.  Not a bad way to finish things up, even if I didn't care for the cards.

So why Brooks? It was his birthday yesterday. The Orioles Hall of Famer turned 81 and the Orioles celebrated by snapping a 13-game road losing streak. There were quite a few positives in the victory (in addition to gaining a game in the standings!)

1. Alex Cobb picked up his first win in a Baltimore uniform. He worked into the 7th inning, gave up 3 runs and lowered his ERA to 6.56. While on the surface none of those numbers are particularly breathtaking they do present a tremendous improvement over his first couple of starts. It looks like he is starting to get back into shape, which is good since he has a couple of more years left on his contract.

2. The Os broke the game open without the benefit of a home run. They actually got a hit with runners in scoring position. Adam Jones had the key hit in the fourth inning. After a Chris Davis double (that would have been a home run in most parks) and a Danny Valencia single left runners on second and third with no outs Joey Rickard and Andrew Susac popped out. It appeared that the Orioles were going to squander a key opportunity.

Then Trey Mancini worked a walk and Adam Jones lashed a pitch into left field that scored two runs (thanks to an off-line throw or else Valencia would have been toast). Manny Machado then drove in Jones and Mancini with a booming single to left-center.

Too often this year, it's been feast or famine for the offense. If they're not hitting home runs, they aren't scoring runs. In this game at least, they were able to actually manufacture some runs.

3. The Os tacked on runs. After the Red Sox closed the gap to 5-3, Jonathan Scoop blasted a Steven Wright knuckleball into the seats on top of the Green Monster. The Red Sox picked up a run in the bottom of the eighth to narrow the score to 6-4. In the top of the 9th, Mark Trumbo drilled a run-scoring double into the gap (with two outs) to widen the lead back to three. With the Red Sox's offense, that gave closer Brad Bach some breathing room in securing the victory.

4. The Orioles took advantage of Boston's mistakes. In the first, Mookie Betts doubled with no one out. It looked like Baltimore would promptly surrender the lead they had gained in their half of the first. Then Andrew Benintendi lofted a soft line drive to second base. For some reason Betts froze and wasn't able to get back to the bag in time to avoid getting doubled off.

In the second Xander Bogaerts singled with one out. Then, on what could only have been a busted hit and run, was thrown out by six feet on an attempted steal.

During the Orioles big fourth inning Jackie Bradley, Jr. air-mailed the cut-off man on Valencia's single. There was no way Davis was scoring from second and the throw allowed Valencia to move up to second. He then scored on Jones hit to left after Benintendi's throw was five feet up the line. Seriously, a half-way decent throw gets him by two steps at least. It also allowed Mancini and Jones to move up a bag each and then score on Machado's single.

So maybe the Orioles are playing their way out of their funk by simply playing better baseball. What a novel concept!

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