There's not much to say about today's game in the way of positives. The Orioles looked like they were ready to start their All-Star break a day early as starter Wei-Yin Chen was ineffective and the batters were terrible against Angels' spot starter Brad Mills.
One start after taking a perfect game into the seventh inning against the Mariners, Chen was the opposite today. He did retire the first five batters he faced, but the sixth batter, Erick Aybar, hit a solo home run to give the Angels the only run they'd end up needing on the day. He gave up two more homers in the third inning, one to Mike Trout and one to Albert Pujols. Trout's was a solo and Pujols' was a two-run shot, coming after a double from Torii Hunter. Chen always gives up healthy number of fly balls, and today those fly balls were sailing out of the ballpark.
Chen lost his command in the fourth inning, walking two runners to set up an RBI single by Maicer Izturis, which made the score 5-0 in favor of the Angels. Chen didn't allow any more baseunners in the inning, but when he started the fifth with a walk to Hunter, Buck Showalter had seen enough and he brought in Luis Ayala to relieve Chen.
As you may know. Ayala has been the king of allowing inherited runners to score this season, as over 50% of inherited runners have ended up crossing the plate. It's been mentioned quite a bit here on Camden Chat and today Jim Palmer even brought it up on the broadcast. But Ayala didn't go down that path today as the first batter he faced, Pujols, hit a pop up to shallow right. It looked like it would fall in for a hit but second baseman Robert Andino made a very good catch and doubled Hunter off of first. It's a good thing, too, since the very next batter hit a home run for the Angels sixth run.
Ayala faced four more batters and retired them all, then handed the ball over to Matt Lindstrom. Lindstrom pitched a perfect inning and was followed by Kevin Gregg, who worked around a leadoff walk and got the next three hitters out. Other than the homer by Mark Trumbo off of Ayala, it was another good game from the bullpen.
The same cannot be said of the Orioles offense. Brad Mills was making his first ML appearance of 2012 and the 15th of his career. He has not been very good. After today, Mills has three major-league wins, all of which have come against the Orioles. Oh, Orioles.
Leadoff hitter Andino doubled over third base to start the game, but was stranded. That was pretty much how the entire game went. Through the first five innings the O's had three hits: the Andino double and singles from Chris Davis and Steve Pearce. Mills came out after five innings and four Angels relievers pitched four scoreless innings. The Orioles had two baserunners each in the eighth and ninth innings, but nothing came of it.
So the first half is officially over, and the Orioles are looking pretty bad. They've been treading water for awhile now and I know that a lot of us are waiting for them to sink. But they haven't yet and maybe a rest is just what they need. Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Jim Johnson will be playing Tuesday night in the All-Star Game and rest of the Orioles are back in action on Friday against the Detroit Tigers.