Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Vintage Fridays: Tim Stoddard, 1980 Topps #314

Earlier today, Andy at Baseball Reference wrote a blog post talking about pitchers who earned holds, saves, or wins without officially facing a batter. This happens when an inherited runner is picked off or otherwise caught stealing. Using a query he ran for the post, I found all of the Orioles pitchers who have recorded an out without having faced a batter. There are twelve instances of this, but seven came in Orioles losses, and those are less fun to discuss. Let's examine the rest, shall we?

-On September 4, 1978, Scott McGregor allowed three runs to the Red Sox before getting an out, thanks to a Jim Rice home run. But he buckled down and retired the next 23 batters in a row and 26 of 27. With the O's rallying for five runs of their own, it looked like Scottie was going to get an improable complete game victory. However, Earl Weaver gave him the hook when Carl Yastrzemski and Carlton Fisk produced back-to-back singles with two outs in the ninth. "Fullpack" Don Stanhouse came in to face Dwight Evans, who represented the go-ahead run. The erratic reliever earned a save without even making the hometown fans sweat much, picking off Fisk to close out an odd game.

-Two years later (September 21, 1980), the Birds hosted the Blue Jays in a pitchers' duel between Jim Clancy and Mike Flanagan. Eddie Murray and John Lowenstein accounted for the Oriole scoring with consecutive RBI singles in the third inning, and Toronto's lone run came via a John Mayberry home run in the fourth. Tippy Martinez replaced Flanny in the ninth and got two outs before Mayberry doubled. The wheels were turning, as Weaver summoned big righty Tim Stoddard to face the righthanded Bob Bailor. Jays skipper Bobby Mattick sent up Steve Braun to bat from the left side, and also replaced Mayberry with rookie pinch runner Lloyd Moseby. After all of that strategy, Rick Dempsey rendered everything moot by catching Moseby off of second base. Kiko Garcia tagged the runner out, and the O's won 2-1. Incidentally, Stoddard had another one-out, no-batter performance in 1981 against the Jays, but it came in a losing cause.

-Jumping ahead to 1997, Scott Erickson walked a tightrope in his May 21 home start against the Tigers. He allowed four hits and five walks in seven and two-thirds innings, but induced four double plays with his sinker. A two-run homer by Rafael Palmeiro gave him an early lead, but Detroit starter Justin Thompson kept the Birds off the board thereafter. So when Erickson gave up a single, a walk, and a pair of stolen bases in the eighth inning, Davey Johnson signaled for the ancient lefty Jesse Orosco to secure the third out. Brian Hunter took his lead off of third base and Damion Easley did likewise at first, but Orosco spun off of the rubber and picked Easley off of first to earn a hold. Randy Myers came on for the ninth and picked up the save: 2-0 final.

-April 28, 2001: The Orioles visit the Twins. This was during that bizarre "Chuck McElroy as a starter" era of Baltimore baseball. He held his own on this day, with a Tom Prince solo home run plating the only run against him. A fifth-inning two-run homer by Brook Fordyce gave Chuck a scant lead. Mike Hargrove pulled him with two outs in the sixth; Corey Koskie stood on first following a single. Rookie reliever Chad Paronto pitched to pinch hitter Jacque Jones, but Koskie took off for second and was thrown out by Fordyce. A piece-of-cake hold for Paronto. Buddy Groom held the fort in the seventh, and Mike Trombley earned the save with one run allowed over the final two innings (the O's tacked on three insurance runs in the ninth), fixing the final score at 5-2.

-Finally we come to the only no-batter win in Oriole history. It was May 1, 2003, and the Birds were playing a doubleheader in Detroit. Rodrigo Lopez was chased after retiring only three of the seven batters he faced, but Pat Hentgen bailed the team out with five and two-thirds innings of relief. When the Tigers took a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning with a two-out single by Omar Infante, Mike Hargrove called for B. J. Ryan. The southpaw caught Infante leaning too early and picked him off, with ex-Tiger Deivi Cruz applying the tag at second base. The O's immediately pieced together three runs of their own to take the lead, making Ryan the pitcher of record. Buddy Groom and Jorge Julio each provided a shutout inning to lock in the 5-2 win for Baltimore.

So there you go. Pitching is pretty easy when you don't have to get any batters out.

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