Entering this week’s four game series, the Twins and Orioles were two of the worst hitting teams in baseball. After splitting the series, the Twins and Orioles are still two of the worst hitting teams in baseball. They sit at 29th (O’s) and 30th (Twins) in on-base percentage in MLB.
Baltimore was starting to get desperate for a win as they entered the series on a seven game losing streak. Nothing was going right. The pitching was starting to look very average and the bats were silent. Buck was trying to stay positive, at least to the media. Everything he said sounded like an attempt to keep his team confident.
So to Game One we go. Monday night. Baltimore. It was Chris Tillman vs. Francisco Liriano. Liriano gave the Orioles plenty of scoring chances but the hitters just couldn’t capitalize. Liriano walked five but repeatedly got out of trouble. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters finally got him in the 7th inning, as they each ripped homers deep into the outfield seats knocking Liriano out of the game.
Chris Tillman pitched well for the O’s. He allowed three runs over 6 2/3 innings without a walk. Tillman scares me every time he’s out there. He’s a guy that pitches up in the zone, but with a fastball that sits around 90-91 mph, that could be a nuclear situation.
It was 3-2 Twins headed into the 9th, but Kevin Gregg gave up two ugly insurance runs. He walked two batters, gave up two hits, and even bounced a wild pitch for a run. Deservedly, the crowd let him have it.
Luke Scott homered in the 9th, in theory the game-tying home run if Gregg had thrown a shut down inning. But it wasn’t to be as the O’s fell 5-3, extending their losing streak to eight games.
Game Two. Tuesday night. Pavano vs. Arrieta. Orioles win 11-0! It was a much-needed blowout. The first eight runs the O’s scored all came with 2-outs. Matt Wieters had a bases loaded double and finished with 4 RBI. Brian Roberts had a 2-rbi double and Vlad Guerrero capped the scoring with a 3-run homer. It was all O’s, all night.
Jake Arrieta pitched six shutout innings as his ERA is still recovering from his 8 ER outing against Texas.
Game Three. Wednesday night. Blackburn vs. Britton. The Orioles were about five feet better than the Twins on this night. Adam Jones recorded the last out of the game by catching a Denard Span fly ball and simultaneously crashing into the outfield fence. It was the second save of the season for Kevin Gregg, with both saves ending on catches against the fence by Oriole outfielders. If you remember, Nick Markakis ended Gregg’s first save by making a leaping catch against the wall in Tampa.
Michael Cuddyer (Twins) and Matt Wieters each homered in the 2nd inning. Both home runs landed in nearly identical spots in centerfield. In that section of stands sat a youth baseball team all decked out in their red jerseys. The guys missed out on Cuddyer’s homer, but Wieters’ shot glanced off their hands and a teammate in the front row caught the rebound.
Game Four. Thursday night. Baker vs. Guthrie. The O’s were shut down by Scott Baker, who was the real story of this game. Baker whiffed nine Orioles en route to seven shutout innings and his first win of the season.
Jim Thome supplied the Twins offense, launching the 591st home run of his career and also lacing an RBI single. Michael Cuddyer also homered to add an insurance run.
The O’s Jeremy Guthrie pitched well in defeat. He threw seven innings and allowed just two runs, both off the bat of Thome. Guthrie now has a losing record of 1-3, despite his 3.12 ERA.
Michael Gonzalez attempted to pitch the 8th inning for Baltimore, but was awful. He lacks command of his pitches, meaning half his sliders and hanging and his velocities are inconsistent. His control is also brutal, meaning he can’t seem to locate any of his pitches.
Up Next. The Orioles are hosting a three-game series with the Yankees this weekend, beginning with tonight’s 7:05pm start. C.C. Sabathia is on the hill for the Bankee$ and Brad Bergesen will sling it for the O’s.
About the Author
Written by Sven Jenkins
My name is Sven Jenkins, and I’m an independent baseball analyst from Poughkeepsie, NY. I own 60ft6in.com and do freelance work for STATS Inc. In the past, I've done research for the St. Louis Cardinals and worked one season with Baseball Info Solutions in 2007. I have also spent many nights as an official scorer in the minor leagues and played NCAA D-III baseball at SUNY New Paltz. In the off-season I travel the world, having enjoyed over 1,100 days on the road through 40 different countries. You can email me at: jenkins AT 60ft6in DOT com.