Wow. The Orioles were able to get Johnny Cueto again to beat the Royals. Their only other win against the Cueto-less Royals this season came when they hit two grand slams in a game, so they were lucky to get him twice. But the funny thing is the Royals are headed to the playoffs and are kind of counting on Cueto to be their Game 1 starter. But he's been terrible recently and overall the Royals have lost seven of nine. Meanwhile, the Orioles have won four of six and look like a good team again. This was a fun win and it was nice to see them dominate from start to finish.
I had a bad feeling after the top of the first inning when Chen gave up a double to Ben Zobrist and ended the inning with a pitch count in the mid-20's. Adam Jones let me forget about that quickly though. After Manny Machado and Chris Davis got on base, Adam Jones hit a long home run into the Orioles' bullpen to quickly make it a 3-0 game.
Chen got off to a good start in the second by getting two quick outs before giving up a few doubles that allowed two runs to score. Some questionable fielding from the defense may have contributed to it. Not to be outdone by poor pitching though, Johnny Cueto comes out and gives up a solo HR to Schoop and a single to Clevenger. The Orioles would score no other runs, but hey - we don't want to be greedy.
Not sure what Jonathan Schoop had for breakfast, but I want some. His second at-bat was another home run, this one a solo shot to give the Orioles the 5-2 lead. In the next inning, Chris Davis thought hitting home runs on ESPN looked like fun and wanted to try it out too - so he tacked on another solo HR into center field. Adam Jones tried to out-do him with his second of the night on the very next at-bat, but his efforts literally came up about six inches short.
In the seventh inning J.J. Hardy and Nolan Reimold got consecutive no out hits off Cueto, which prompted Ned Yost to remember he's the manager and its probably his job to get someone warming in the bullpen at this point. Machado decided to take advantage of the oversight by hitting a grounder to 3rd, which the Royals tried to turn for a double play but couldn't even turn for one, which let Hardy score. Davis struck out, but Jones comes up to hit a double and score Reimold. That Davis strikeout was it for Cueto, who came out of the game. Louis Coleman came in to relieve him. With two outs Matt Wieters drew a walk to bring up Jonathan Schoop, who was 3-3 off of Cueto. But in the middle of the at-bat, Coleman had to come out with an apparent arm injury from his last pitch. Former Orioles Jeremy Guthrie came in, threw one pitch and stuck him out. No one's perfect.
Darren O'Day came out for the eighth inning, meaning Chen's night was done. He quietly turned in a quality start. We talk a lot about Chris Davis and Matt Wieters...let's not forget Chen is likely gone after this year too.
For the ninth, Buck brought in Zach Britton even though it wasn't a save situation or anything close to it. Because sometimes you want to win the game and shut the other team down. Or maybe Buck wanted to troll Ned Yost, who was notorious last year especially for being too rigid in when to use his relievers. Either way, I approve. Britton quickly dispensed of the Royals hitters to end the game, like he does. O's win.
Some other notes:
- The throw from Parra in the top of the second to Hardy on the Perez double was incredible. So was his catch in the top of the ninth.
- A lot of those Royals hits look like they could have been from a game last October
- Machado swinging in the bottom of the 2nd on a 3-0 count with a man on, two outs, and Davis on deck was...not smart.
- Can Jessica Mendoza permanently replace Curt Schilling on Sunday nights next season too?
- The double play Chris Davis started in the top of the fourth - wow
- Job one this offseason needs to be locking up Manny Machado. Job two needs to be locking up Jonathan Schoop. I have to think it'll be easier to go out and get free agents once you take care of your young guys. The Orioles cannot let themselves get into the arbitration mess they got into this year.
- Last year the Reds had Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos. Since both were traded away they seem to have completely fallen apart.
- I guess pitching a terrible game gets you the call on fastballs three inches off the plate with some guys(see Davis AB, seventh inning)