Chase Utley may be getting up there in years for a ballplayer, but even if his legs aren’t what they once were, hustle doesn’t age.
Thanks to a Justin Turner injury which moved Logan Forsythe to third base, Utley got the start at second. In the ninth inning, with the Dodgers holding a slim, 1-0 lead, Utley drew a leadoff walk. Following a Yasiel Puig fly out and a Scott Van Slyke strikeout, Andrew Toles came to bat. Toles struck out as well, but strike three got away from Willson Contreras.
As it was a full count with two down, Utley was obviously running with the pitch. Contreras threw the ball away trying to retire Toles at first. Utley kept running. And running. And running. Scoring from first on a bloody strikeout. Watch:
Not bad, old man. Not bad at all.
The Orioles won their 19th game of the season 11 days ago. The club snapped a nine-game losing streak on Sunday afternoon, taking down the Marlins 10-4 to finally cross the 20-win threshold. Aside from the Orioles, who have baseball’s worst record (20-50), the White Sox were the slowest team to reach 20 wins, securing No. 20 on June 6 — 11 days ago, for those of you keeping score.
Mark Trumbo had three hits including a solo home run, three runs scored, and two RBI. Jace Peterson knocked in four runs, including two with a two-run homer. Starter Dylan Bundy wasn’t particularly sharp, giving up four runs over six innings, but it was good enough for the W.
Coincidentally, the Orioles’ last two wins at Camden Yards came on Father’s Day (June 17) and Mother’s Day (May 13). They were on an 11-game home losing streak.
There hasn’t been any one singular cause for the Orioles’ woes. The club has dealt with a handful of injuries. First baseman Chris Davis is having a tremendously terrible season, so much so that a Baltimore-area bar is offering free shots whenever he gets a hit. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop hasn’t hit anywhere close to the way he hit last year. Free agent pick-up Alex Cobb has a 7.14 ERA over 12 starts. Andrew Cashner has a 4.98 ERA and is on the 10-day disabled list. Zach Britton has been absent most of the season due to an injury, only recently coming back.
No one expected the Orioles to hang with the Yankees and Red Sox this season, but I don’t think anyone was expecting them to reach 20 wins in the middle of June, either.