Much to the surprise of seemingly everyone who follows or covers baseball, the 2019 Baltimore Orioles will NOT be going 0-162.
Perhaps even more shockingly, they won’t even be going 0-18 against the mighty Yankees of New York.
Now that you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, let’s talk a little about how these scrappy Birds shocked the sports world and managed to come out ahead in a nine-inning contest of hardball.
Before we get into that though, let’s check out the post-game festivities in the Birds’ clubhouse:
Let’s all give thanks that Mark Trumbo isn’t with the team, or no such fun would have been allowed, you can be damn sure of that.
So how’d we get there?
In just the second game of the season, we saw that these Orioles aren’t the Birds of years past. Could you imagine Buck Showalter utilizing an “opener?” That’s just what Brandon Hyde did, running Nate Karns out to the mound to start the game, with the hopes that he’d be able to get through not five or six, but two or three innings.
Things began butt-clenchingly, as Karns walked three straight batters following a first-pitch flyout by Brett “Megamind” Gardner. He wiggled out of that bases-loaded jam by inducing a 1-2-3 double play from Miguel Andjuar. It wouldn’t be the last rally Andjuar would kill on the day.
Karns settled down in the second, and Jimmy Yacabonis replaced him following two scoreless innings. A successful open!
Jimmy went another three frames, allowing just a single run on three hits and two walks, with two strikeouts. Yacabonis looks like he could be a legitimate weapon from the bullpen – for the Orioles or for another squad who might want to pony up some prospects for him in a couple months.
I've had eyes on Jimmy Yacabonis for awhile. he can be really fun out of the pen when he throws harder and can do this with the heat: pic.twitter.com/WFMZCuu4i6
— Sung Min Kim (@sung_minkim) March 30, 2019
In the sixth inning, the Orioles grabbed their first lead of the 2019 season, and they did it in what, for them, was quite the unconventional way (at least pre-2019). It wasn’t with a dong (or even several one-run dongs). In fact, the Orioles are completely homer-less in two games, the first time they’ve done that to begin a season since 2001 (h/t @oriolesfactoids).
No, they did it like this:
- Lineout to CF, with a CATCHER tagging to go from 2nd to 3rd (!!!!!)
- Double steal (!!!) with a throwing error
Miguel Castro then came on to protect the 2-1 lead, and did just that, tossing two scoreless innings of his own.
With a 3-1 lead headed to the bottom of the eighth, Hyde pulled another Showalter no-no: he brought in his “closer” Mychal Givens to start the frame. Now, Hyde may have planned on Givens staying in for a six-out save (and, after he struck out three of the four Yankees he faced, Givens would have earned the chance), but the Birds weren’t done with their scoring.
The O’s added two insurance runs in the ninth, utilizing the following sequence:
- Reach on error
With a now 5-1 lead, Hyde was certainly not going to stick with Givens, instead letting Richard Bleier come in with a four-run cushion and the chance to close things out.
It did…not go well!
Bleier was up the zone consistently, and New York was scorching him. Exit velocities for the batters Dick faced, via baseball savant:
Tulowitzki (B.S. Yankee Stadium home run): 98.2 MPH
LeMahieu (double): 107 MPH
Gardner (lineout): 105.2 MPH
Judge (single): 98.2 MPH
So, naturally, Hyde turned to…MIKE WRIGHT?!
“Bold move cotton, let’s see how this works out dot gif”
Mike “Hothead” Wright…in a save situation. With runners on. In Yankee Stadium.
We O’s fans braced for the inevitable, yet somehow, Wright instead pulled off the unfathomable.
He struck out Stanton (Yankee fans will tell you this is completely predictable).
He gave up ONLY a single to Voit, making the game 5-3.
Then, representing the winning run, Andjuar again came up small, striking out as well.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) March 31, 2019
Color me shocked! Good on you, Mike Wright.
And good on the Birds, defying all the odds by winning…a game! On the road! Against the Yankees!
Orioles Magic, baby!