If you are an avid Orioles fans and follow them closely, you are used to the Birds playing a horrendous series and then turn around and look like a completely different team in the next series. It’s like day and night between series and yet again, they showed how inconsistent they can be.
The Birds lost two of three in Oakland to begin their nine-game road trip out to the west coast and then to Minnesota. After they left the Coliseum, the Angels swept the Orioles out of Los Angeles and they migrated east to Minnesota. So far at Target Field, they’ve won the first three games and are going for a four game sweep of the Twins this afternoon.
The Angels series was a heartbreaker for Orioles fans, mainly because the Birds rallied back in game two in the 8th inning to tie the game and eventually captured the lead in the 12th, only to surrender three runs and lose the extra-inning affair.
The major problem with the Birds, which I’ve expressed many times throughout my writing this summer, has been their pitching, both starting and relieving. When the Birds are going well, their pitching is turning on all cylinders and when they are struggling, it’s usually due to their lack of pitching depth.
Let’s break down each series and see what really is going on with the Orioles.
Game 1, Angels 8 Orioles 3
On Friday night in Anaheim, newly acquired Jo-Jo Reyes took the hill for the Birds and really struggled to find his groove as he tossed five innings, allowed five earned runs, surrendered three walks and struck out six. Not to mention, he served up two homeruns.
Their bullpen didn’t look much better as three relievers combined for only three innings, and they yielded four base hits, including two homeruns, and three earned runs. Brad Bergesen pitched a perfect sixth, but other than that, the other two relievers looked shaky.
Not to mention, their offense could not deliver a big blow against the Angels’ pitching staff; the Orioles left 10 runners on base, and were only able to score three times. They collected 12 base hits on the night and each Oriole recorded one hit except for Mark Reynolds. And, four of the Birds’ hitters recorded two hits each.
Game 2, Angels 9 Orioles 8 in 12 innings
Saturday night’s extra inning contest was yet again another game for Orioles’ fans to forget. It looked like the Orioles were well onto their 48th win of the season as they took an 8-6 lead heading into the bottom of the 12 inning. But, again, their bullpen imploded (and I mean mainly closer Kevin Gregg) as Gregg allowed two hits and three runs and he didn’t even record an out!
Newly-acquired former Ranger Tommy Hunter toed the hill in game two and although he lasted 6.1 innings, he could have easily been removed before the 7th inning. He surrendered six earned runs and one homerun before the bullpen entered the game.
The pen tossed five innings in relief, and until Gregg entered the game, they were pitching masterfully. They hadn’t allowed a hit until Gregg served up two hits in the bottom of the 12th, which eventually led to three runs (two earned). The Angels won the game on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Bobby Abreu.
As for their offense, the Birds’ hitters were able to record 17 base hits over the 12 innings, and only left five runners on base all night. Center fielder Adam Jones recorded a four hit game and both catcher Matt Wieters and right fielder Nick Markakis collected three hits each in the devastating loss.
Game 3, Angels 7 Orioles 1
In the Sunday matinee, again, the Angels outpitched the Birds for the third consecutive contest. Brian Matusz returned to the hill for the Orioles for the second time since being recalled from the minors, which may have been a bit too soon.
He lasted only four innings, allowed six runs, five of which were earned, scatted nine base hits and served up one homerun. His ERA jumped to 8.92 on the year and he’s allowed 11 earned runs over his last two starts in just 10.2 innings.
Two Baltimore relievers combined to pitch the final four innings of the game and although they surrendered five base hits, they only allowed one earned run. With the loss, the Birds dropped to 30 games under the .500 mark.
As for their offense, they could only muster six base hits and again, failed to come up with the big hit in the game as they left seven runners on base.
Overall Series vs. Angels
The Birds’ starters only tossed 15.1 innings over the three game series (5.03 innings per start), surrendered 16 earned runs (9.54 ERA), yielded four walks, struck out eight Angels and allowed four homeruns.
The Orioles pen tossed nine innings in relief, surrendered six earned runs on 11 base hits (6.00 ERA) and blew one save. As for their offense, the Birds only scored 12 runs (four per game), although they did collected 35 hits (11.7 hits per game).
Another major downfall this series, besides the pitching, was the Birds inability to catch and throw the ball behind their hurlers. They committed at least one error in each game and six total! (one error in game one, two miscues in the second game and three in the last game)
Game 1, Orioles 4, Twins 1
Rookie Zach Britton got the call in the first game of the series against the Twins and he pitched like he did back in April and May when his ERA was sub three. He tossed only five innings, but he surrendered only one earned run, a feat an Oriole pitcher could not do against the Angels.
The bullpen entered the game in the sixth inning and shut the door as they tossed four innings, allowed only two base hits and struck out six Twins; Gregg earned his 18th save of the season with an easy 1,2,3 9th inning.
As for the offense, although they only scored four runs, they made each one count. J.J. Hardy and Wieters both connected for a solo homerun (24th and 13th respectively). Both Markakis and rookie Ryan Adams chipped in with an RBI each.
Game 2, Orioles 8, Twins 1
The last two games for Orioles starters are reminiscent of last year’s August and first month under Showalter. Alfredo Simon toed the rubber for the Birds in the second game and threw his best game of the year as he tossed eight solid innings, surrendered only a 3rd inning solo homerun to Danny Valencia (14th) and struck out eight to earn his third win as a starter.
Reliever Willie Eyre pitched the 9th inning and allowed only a base hit to close out the Birds second straight win, following their five-game losing streak out west.
As for their offense, they broke out for eight runs on 13 hits and they got production from Robert Andino, Wieters, Reynolds and Nolan Reimold.
Game 3, Orioles 6, Twins 1
Jeremy Guthrie manned the hill in the third game of the four game series and turned in a beauty as he tossed seven innings, allowed only one earned run (which seems to be a trend of each starter against the Twins this series) and struck out five.
The pen relieved Guthrie for the last two innings and they allowed only one base hit. Lefty specialist Mike Gonzalez struck out the side in the 8th inning and the bullpen shut the Twins down.
Again, multiple starters provided offensive production in this game, not just from one person. Reynolds crushed his 28th homerun of the year, Reimold tripled and both Adams and Wieters drove in RBI.
Overall Series vs. Twins
This series can be characterized by the Birds pitching, both starting and relieving. Orioles’ hurlers have tossed 20 innings (4.2 more than against the Angels), surrendered only three earned runs (13 fewer than the previous series) and their starter’s ERA sits at just 1.35.
As for their pen, they’ve performed even better, if that’s imaginable. They’ve tossed seven innings and have not allowed a single earned run, while striking out nine.
Another major difference between the Birds’ series against the Angels and this series, they haven’t committed a single miscue yet against the Twins (and they committed six errors in three games against the Angels).
So, as I wrote in one of my previous blog posts, the Birds’ problem this season has been their inconsistency in their pitching staff, both starters and reliever. We see what their starters can do, but they need to go out there and perform this way most of the time.
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(All stats calculated before Thursday’s matinee vs. the Twins)
About the Author
Written by Alex Van Rees
I am 22 years old and I recently graduated from James Madison University this May with a BA degree and a major in journalism. I live in Reston, VA, about 20 minutes outside of Washington. I am looking for an entry-level position with a sports media company where I can demonstrate my writing, interviewing and technical skills to better the organization.