Derek Jeter drives in run to cut into Orioles lead

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UPDATE: The Orioles got out of it. Darren O’Day struck out Alex Rodriguez swinging for the second out before Buck Showalter made another change, this time bringing in Brian Matusz. The southpaw issued an intentional walk to Robinson Cano before getting Nick Swisher to fly out to left field to end the inning. The Orioles lead 3-2 as we move to the bottom of the seventh in Baltimore.

11:07 PM: That extra breathing room didn’t last long. Eduardo Nunez led off the top of the seventh with a double before Derek Jeter brought him home with a single to cut the Orioles’ lead to 3-2. Wei-Yin Chen got Ichiro to ground into a fielder’s choice before Orioles manager Buck Showalter brought the hook.

Chen was given a standing ovation from the Camden Yards faithful as he walked off the field. Darren O’Day is in to face Alex Rodriguez with one out and a runner on first.

10:56 PM ET: The Orioles have a little breathing room over the Yankees.

Matt Wieters led off the bottom of the sixth with a double to right-center before Mark Reynolds brought him home with an opposite field single to push the Orioles’ lead to 3-1. Andy Pettitte was able to strike out Jim Thome and get Manny Machado to hit into a double play to escape any further damage.

Wei-Yin Chen is still in there for the Orioles. He has allowed six hits and a walk while striking out three. Chen wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the fourth and sat down the Yankees on four pitches in the fifth before working around an error by J.J. Hardy with two outs in the sixth. Pretty impressive for his first career playoff start.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game with a sprained left wrist

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Bad news for the Red Sox today. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia was involved in a collision at first base with Jose Abreu of the White Sox. Pedroia stayed in the game at the time but was replaced by Josh Rutledge in the second.

The injury: sprained left wrist. Which, no, is not good, but there was some initial concern that he may have aggravated the knee which has been bothering him of late. They’ll no doubt provide an update after the game. As of now, the Sox lead the Sox 1-0 in the bottom of the third.

 

Brad Ausmus is not a fan of the Tigers’ schedule

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Everyone in baseball has a tough schedule. The season is a grind. Some teams, however, due to weather and happenstance, have stretches which are a tougher grind than others. The Tigers are in one of those right now.

Detroit played the Astros on Thursday night, and lost in a three-hour and thirty minute contest. It was a getaway day, er, night, and they didn’t get to Chicago to face the White Sox until the wee wee hours of the morning on Friday. Waiting for them: a double header which was to start at 4pm. The first game of it was rained out, though, so they woke up after a short “night’s sleep for nothing. Then the nightcap was delayed over an hour, giving them another late bedtime. On Saturday it was another double header, so it was another early wakeup and another long day at the park. And, of course, another day game on Sunday, before a flight to Kansas City.

This stretch has made Brad Ausmus grumpy. Here he was after Friday night’s late finish:

“Give some credit to the White Sox pitchers, give some credit to the schedule we have. We’ll try to get about 5 hours of sleep and come back tomorrow and play two more.”

He was particularly miffed at the scheduling of two doubleheaders in a row:

“You can’t control the weather but I think it would have been prudent to play the second game tomorrow in August,” he said. “That would have made a lot more sense to me.”

Ausmus did note, however, that it’s not the White Sox’ job to make a schedule that is convenient for their division rivals.

You can look at this in a few different ways. One one level, Ausmus is understandably upset about a particularly arduous stretch of games. On another level he’s probably trying to protect his players, who have looked flat, by changing the subject from their play to the schedule. On a different level, you could say that he’s making excuses for a team that is underachieving. And, of course, those three things are not mutually exclusive.

The thing is, though, that the Tigers have lost seven of ten, are five out of first place, four games under .500 and could conceivably leave their series with the Royals this week in dead last in the Central. Ultimately, extenuating circumstances like the weather and an unfortunate schedule don’t save a manager whose talented and highly-paid team struggles like the Tigers have. If they don’t turn it around soon, Ausmus could be hitting the bricks and the Tigers could be fixing to sell off and rebuild.