The Baltimore Orioles, a mid-Atlantic based sports concern that exists to torture and addle the minds of their dozens of fans, are in the midst of a miraculous season. Despite selling at the deadline, despite the name on the front of the jersey, and despite ownership’s determination to lose at volume, the Orioles are a mere half-game out of the final AL wild card spot. There are few ways for a season to unfold that are more fun than Everyone thought we’d stink but we don’t! At a micro level, there are fewer wins more satisfying than last night’s 6-5 comeback against the Blue Jays.
The protagonist of the game was Rougned Odor, a sub-replacement level infielder who nonetheless has become a keystone veteran presence for the Orioles. Odor was both the cause of and solution to the Orioles’ problems last night. After taking a 3-1 lead on their avian rivals into the sixth, thanks in part to some slick fielding from Odor and despite some boneheaded base running, the Orioles crumbled, surrendering four runs. Odor had a chance to stop the scoring before it began. Alejandro Kirk smacked a single into centerfield, and Odor received a cutoff throw as Vladimir Guerrero Jr. charged to the plate. Instead of nailing the throw or even successfully tossing it to his catcher, Odor’s throw landed like 10 feet wide of home plate, allowing Guerrero to score, Kirk to advance, and the Jays to put two men on for Bo Bichette to bring home with a dinger. Oops!
The game was then delayed for more than an hour after a rain storm rolled in. Rather than stew in his mistake, Odor clearly got pumped up to save the game for his team. In the bottom of the eighth, he smacked a huge bomb to right field that would have donged in every MLB ballpark.
Odor would have secured a legendary night if he’d stopped at his sixth-inning throwing error and eighth-inning game-saving home run, but no, things got significantly weirder. Odor followed up his dinger by making yet another throwing error, sailing a routine throw to first over the head of his first baseman by a good six or seven feet. With the tying run in scoring position with two outs, Guerrero laced a hard line drive to Odor, allowing the second baseman to end the game he so thoroughly animated. Statistically speaking, Odor is having a rough year, but he’s come up big in high-leverage situations a few times this year, and he’s clearly helping the Orioles fight for every win. Ideally, his contributions won’t continue to be so uneven, but that’s the Rougned Odor experience in 2022.