The Birds dropped an ugly one in the Bronx on Friday night, 5-2.
Despite some struggles, Miguel Gonzalez kept his team in the game, pitching into the seventh inning, when he left after walking the leadoff batter with the game tied at 2-2.
Following Gonzo’s departure, the Orioles-Yankees game turned into a showing of “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.” At least if you’re an O’s fan.
But it was more like a series of extremely improbable unfortunate events.
Troy Patton relieved Gonzalez, and Brett Gardner bunted Francisco Cervelli (who had walked) to second base. Robinson Cano grounded out – pretty much the best-case scenario for the slugger, who always destroys the O’s – and Cervelli moved to third with two down.
The O’s elected to intentionally walk Kevin Youklis, to get the lefty-lefty matchup with Patton and Travis Hafner. So now it’s first and third with two outs. It was looking like a good move, right up until Patton beaned Hafter on a full count pitch.
Now the bases are loaded, with Vernon Wells coming to the dish.
Buck elects to bring in Pedro Strop.
Strop induces a fly ball from Wells – Wells got a lot of it, but fortunately hit it to dead center field, the largest part of the ballpark. Adam Jones appeared to have a bead on it. If he makes the catch, the game would have gone to the top of the eighth still tied at 2-2.
Instead, this happened:
The ball bounced off the heel of Jones’ glove, allowing all three runs to score. So the Yanks were up 5-2, despite not getting a single hit in the inning.
To add insult to injury, of COURSE Jones was blowing a bubble when he dropped the ball, so some O’s fans immediately blame that for the drop.
In my opinion, that’s just downright silly. There’s a group of fans who hate Jones’ bubble-blowing, calling it “lazy” or “show off.” To me, it’s just something he does – like Michael Jordan sticking his tongue out.
If Jordan missed a jumper in 1995, would Bulls fans point to his tongue being out as the reason he missed? I doubt it.
While Jones obviously isn’t Michael Jordan, and hasn’t earned that kind of leash for mistakes, you get my point – it’s unrelated. Blowing the bubble seems like something Adam does to increase his concentration, not to distract him.
Nonetheless, the gaffe (along with another that we’ll get to in a second) cost the O’s the game.
More concerning (though likely just a bad coincidence), it was the second time in under a week that a miscue by Jones in center ended up costing the Birds runs, and likely the ball game. He lost a ball in the sun on Sunday against the Twins, two runs scored, and the O’s lost 4-3.
Jones had this to say, per Roch Kubatko:
“Missed it,” he said. “Trust me. Wish I could do it again, but hey, I missed it.”
It was pointed out that somebody on the team thought Jones stepped on the edge of the warning track and momentarily lost his footing as he reached for Vernon Wells’ fly ball with the bases loaded and two outs.
“Just missed it,” Jones said. “Foot gave out, you could say it’s rain, you could say it’s cold, you could say anything – wind, you could say whatever you want. I was there. Didn’t catch it. Cost my team the game. Trust me, it’s quite frustrating.
“To make a mistake like that, big in the game, late in the game, you cost your team a game. It’s not a good feeling, but the good thing about baseball you show up tomorrow with a better plan. Some days you’re the hero, some days you’re the goat.”
Jones won’t bother to check the replay.
“I don’t have to watch that ball on video,” he said. “I’ve caught way tougher balls than that. And it’s a ball hit over my head. It’s a routine play in my book. Me and (Wayne) Kirby talked about it afterward. Missed it. No more, no less.”
I’m glad Roch didn’t ask him about the bubble.
Anyway, that wasn’t the end of the ridiculousness last night though…not even close.
To be continued…