Judging solely by the results, there's no denying that going to Mychal Givens in the fifth inning as Chris Tillman ran into trouble was the right move.
Time for Tillman to go: Judging solely by the results, there's no denying that going to Mychal Givens in the fifth inning as Chris Tillman ran into trouble was the right move.
Givens came in and got a one-pitch double play to end the fifth, then retired the next five batters he faced to complete 21/3 scoreless innings on 19 pitches.
Before that, Tillman was his proper second-half self. He didn't have the premium stuff that so tantalized in the first half of the season, but he kept the Toronto Blue Jays off balance. He finished having allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts, with the most important thing about his day possibly being that no one was on base for the second-inning home run by right fielder Jose Bautista.
Bullpen management is different in the playoffs, and the leash is even shorter in a one-gamer like Tuesday. And the Orioles bullpen was typically great, with no runs allowed by Givens, Donnie Hart, Darren O'Day and Brian Duensing before Showalter turned to Ubaldo Jimenez instead of closer Zach Britton. Tillman probably wanted to go further, but the bullpen was set up for a short start — good or bad. There's no shame in getting lifted in the fifth in a game like that.
One for good measure: Is it any surprise that the Orioles' entire offensive output came off the bat of major league home leader Mark Trumbo, who hit 47 in the regular season and added one more for good measure?
He made hard contact in all of his other at-bats, but none better than the 101-mph drive to left field that came on a broken-bat swing.
The Orioles only had four hits on the day, and they went down in order in their last four innings at the plate.
Base-running blunders: Toronto might have pulled away earlier if not for a pair of questionable calls on the base paths during the fifth inning. After a one-out double, designated hitter Michael Saunders advanced only to third after a double by center fielder Kevin Pillar that looked like right fielder Michael Bourn might catch. Only one run scored on the single by left fielder Ezequiel Carrera that followed it. Another run for the Blue Jays changes the complexion of the game, but it continued.
Incoming: Tuesday's game was full of impressive catches, but fewer had a higher degree of difficulty than the one left fielder Hyun Soo Kim made to end the seventh inning. Kim was camped under a fly ball from Melvin Upton Jr. when a fan threw a can of beer just past his head.
The incident brought center fielder Adam Jones over to yell at the fans in that section, and manager Buck Showalter out onto the field to have a long discussion with the umpires.
Bourn the bargain: Once the Orioles went on the road for the final week of the season, the vast expanses of right field at Rogers Centre and Yankee Stadium became property of Bourn. Forget the different dimension his contact ability adds to the lineup.
Over his brief time with the Orioles, he has been a major asset in the outfield defensively, tracking down three difficult balls that Trumbo might not have gotten to and nearly catching a fourth Tuesday. His base-stealing capabilities don't hurt, either.
Chris Davis never swings: The major league's 2016 strikeout king picked up two more in the wild-card game, both looking, naturally. Through his first three at-bats, Davis saw 16 pitches and swung at just two of them. Granted, most of them were balls, but two of the three called strikes came at the worst possible time.