Orioles use Sox as cage liner, remain in AL Wild Card race, but “It could have been worse…”


The over-achieving Orioles, trounced the stinking, sinking Sox 9-1; the First place Yankees shot down the hapless Jays 11-4; result: Baltimore still one game behind New York; Red Sox still tied with Toronto for last place in the AL East.  But, Sox fans, things have been worse…[hint: 47 years ago…]

Our revenge angle–recall the Orioles bumped the Sox out of last year’s playoffs by beating them on the last day of the season–only had life for half an inning.

But, wait, the “It could have been worse” angle is still alive [below: after the line of dashes…]

September 28, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles mascot plays the fiddle on top of the Orioles dugout for the seventh inning stretch during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Red Sox 9 – 1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE

This season, El Birdos Fantastico are playing with the house’s money:  “There’s no stress in here, there’s no pressure on us.  We’re not supposed to be here according to everybody in the media. We’re just playing. We know what’s at stake.” [Adam Jones, CF]

Let’s try the “Stupid Trade” angle: with five games remaining, Baltimore is trying to earn its first playoff berth since 1997 and they can thank the Seattle Mariners.

On February 8, 2008, Tillman and now-blossoming star, Adam Jones, as well as pitchers George Sherrill, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio, went to Baltimore and Seattle got Erik Bedard, who pitched poorly for the Red Sox in 2012 and was then released by the Pirates in late August.


Tonight the Sox tried NL Bobby Ball, when leadoff hitter Scott Podsednik mimicked Mickey Mantle; he bunted past the pitcher; then made it to second on an ill-considered “heroic” over-throw to 1b by Second baseman Flaherty.  The Posednik Adventure culminated in an unearned run and 1-0 lead for the Sox before the Birds went to their bats.

Most MLB batters know the book on Sox starter, Aaron Cook: “will not intimidate anyone with his overpowering stuff; must keep his offerings low in the zone.”

Pitchers call it a “mistake” when they miss their spot; hitters call it a “cookie.” When pitchers can put the ball where the want it, they say they have “control.”  When they lack control, on their 726-inch journey to the catcher, their pitches turn into “cookies.”

With the Sox ahead 1-0, Aaron Cook had no control and he promptly served a high curve, a crescent sugar cookie, to power hitter Chris Davis for a HR: 2-1 “Ballmore.”  The Oriole Second baseman from Deering High School in Portland, Maine, Ryan Flaherty, came off the 15-day DL and gratefully accepted a Cook “cookie” with a bird on every perch and launched it into a flight that ended in the OF stands; he would record five RBIs in the game.

When Baltimore replied with a gaggle of six runs, the first inning, and this game, was over.

Meanwhile, trailing the Yankees by just one game, Orioles all along the bench were sneaking peeks at the scoreboard, which reported that the New Yorkers were leading the lesser bird team in the AL East, 3-1.

The Generous Baker, Aaron Cook, pitched one inning, threw 42 pitches, gave up 6 earned runs, 3 walks, K’d none and gave up just 5 hits, but two were Homer cookies.  Enter Angry Alfredo Aceves to pitch 3.2 innings, throw 54 pitches, K 4, walk none, and give up 3 earned runs and 6 hits.

In just 4.2 innings two Sox pitchers had tossed 99 pitches and surrendered 9 earned runs and after 8 innings their only hit off starter Tillman was Posednik’s leadoff bunt single.  Tillman gave up one unearned run and retired the Sox 1-2-3 in innings five through eight.

He was sharp against the Red Sox last Sunday, but got a no decision of a 2-1 loss, yielding one run and six hits over six innings. Tillman had gone 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA over his previous three career starts versus Boston.

Tillman was just a bunt single and one inning shy of a no-hitter, that would have matched the one tossed by Reds’ starter, Homer Bailey, in Pittsburgh tonight.


You think 2012 was a bad year?

“It could have been worse.”

In 1965, even Malzone, Petrocelli, Schilling, Tony Conigliaro” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=conigto01″>Tony Conigliaro, and Yaz–with a 4.8 WAR rating–couldn’t compensate for a lackluster rotation that racked up 74 losses.

Earl Wilson



Bill Monbouquette



Dave Morehead



Jim Lonborg

9  17

Dennis Bennett




The “closer”

, got 22 saves, but was also



C Bob Tillman” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=tillmbo01″>Bob Tillman (106 games started)
1B Lee Thomas” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=thomale03″>Lee Thomas (127)
2B Felix Mantilla” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=mantife01″>Felix Mantilla (123)
3B Frank Malzone” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=malzofr01″>Frank Malzone (96)
SS Rico Petrocelli” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=petrori01″>Rico Petrocelli (93)
LF Carl Yastrzemski” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=yastrca01″>Carl Yastrzemski (125)
CF Lenny Green” href=”http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=greenle01″>Lenny Green (86)
RF Tony Conigliaro (135)

“There was a reason the Impossible Dream season was so impossible. In 1966, a year before he won the Triple Crown and Most Valuable Player honors, Carl Yastrzemski hit just 16 home runs for the Red Sox.” [By Brian MacPherson, Providence Journal]

The 1965 Boston Red Sox, most of whom would be part of the “Impossible Dream” just two years later,  lost 100 games.

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