That was a quick game, and this is going to be a quick recap. There wasn't a lot that happened in this game. Camden Chat boss Mark Brown commented on Twitter that this felt like one of those Sunday afternoon games and I agree. They couldn't score a run against Erasmo Ramirez. Here's what I had to say about Ramirez in my series preview on Friday: "I wasn't familiar with Ramirez before looking him up. He did pitch 1.1 innings against the O's back on May 3rd, but that was in relief. He's really bounced around this year between the rotation and the bullpen. None of his starts have been very good, despite being given two wins by decision. He's got a 6.62 ERA but a 4.73 FIP and his SO/W is a pretty bad 1.81. This doesn't really seem like someone the Orioles should lose to." I probably should have remembered that anyone the O's match up well against on paper is EXACTLY the kind of pitcher they lose to. For Chen's part, he pitched pretty well, going seven innings and only giving up the three runs, a quality start. Of course, he could've only given up one run and the O's still would have lost.
Chen's three earned runs came in the first three innings, off a sac fly and two solo home runs. He still was pitching efficiently though, by the end of the third he was only at 34 pitches. He would go another four innings, allowing a few more baserunners but no more runs.
If it's possible to have a player of the game in a loss, I'd give it to Steve Clevenger. He was 2 for 3 and came the closest to scoring a run for the Orioles when he took off from 2nd in the bottom of the 5th on a Flaherty single to left field. He rounded third and was called out at home to end the inning. Some might blame The Windmill for this one, but I'm not so sure. For one, Clevenger took off immediately and while he's not fast ran probably as hard as he could. Also, the throw to home from Butler in left was perfect - there was no cutoff man, no bounce, it just went right into the catcher's mitt and Clevenger was still only out by a half second. If that throw had been off the mark even a little I think he would have been safe. Also, Clevenger made a nice pickoff of Souza trying to steal 2nd in the 6th. You kind of have to wonder what's going to happen to Clevenger when Wieters comes back in a couple weeks if he keeps playing this well. I wouldn't be surprised if Lavarnway was let go to give the O's the chance to showcase Clevenger for a few weeks and up his trade value.
The only other eventful sequence in the game came when the Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the 8th. Chaz Roe was pitching, but like Darren O'Day the night before, he worked out of it without allowing any runs. So that's two games in a row there Orioles have allowed bases loaded with no outs, but not allowed any runs to score. I'd be worried about the next time that happens - no way they can do it three times in a row...right?
Tommy Hunter came in for the ninth, and actually didn't go boom. He allowed a hit, but nothing else. Of course, the Orioles went down three in a row in the bottom of the ninth to end the game.
While Adam Jones has cooled off a little of late, I have to imagine Buck is going to look at how this offense performed without him and think twice about sitting him again. Not that I blame Buck - against Ramirez I probably would've felt good about sitting Jones too. And the reports were he was dealing with some swelling in his ankle...not worth the risk with a guy like that.
Even though this Rays win only evened the series, it sure feels like the series is already over. Tomorrow is another day game between Tillman (who has been shaky all year) and Odorizzi (who has been great all year). The Orioles could win, but they're going to need find their offense again. It looked like they had started breaking out of their May slump earlier in the week, but only have two runs in eighteen innings in this series. My guess is they'll need more than two tomorrow to win.