There have been better Friday nights in the history of Baltimore baseball ... much better nights. The Angels were the better team from the first pitch in this series opener. For Ubaldo Jimenez, he falls to 5-9 after this very disappointing outing.
It’s never a good thing when the bullpen begins stirring in the top of the first inning. On this particular night, Ubaldo Jimenez was the culprit of quite a few early, ugly stares from the Camden Yards faithful.
In the top of the first, Jimenez allowed a walk-single-single-wild pitch sequence, surrendering RBI to Albert Pujols (single) and C.J. Cron (groundout) before he could record a pair of outs. The Angels led 2-0 after the first half inning of play, not enough however to discourage the threat of the Birds offense.
Adam Jones blasted a solo home run on the first pitch he saw from LAA starter Matt Shoemaker, drilling the first O’s run of the game deep into center field. The mammoth dinger was Jones’ 17th of 2016.
After Jimenez consistently missed the zone to begin the second inning of play, the MASN cameras again shifted to the ‘pen to show Mike Wright rapidly loosening up. And as the script has followed throughout much of the season, it wasn’t long before Jimenez would need the help.
With runners on first and third, Yunel Escobar grounded a hard single up the middle to boost the Angels lead to 3-1. The next batter, Kole Calhoun, roped another hard-hit shot to right field to make the score 4-1, effectively ending the night for Jimenez.
Wright would get the call from the skipper after the early mess - he stranded Calhoun at first, but Mike Trout managed a sacrifice fly on the first pitch Wright threw to increase the visitor’s lead to 5-1.
Jimenez’s final line: 1.1 IP, 5 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 walks, 0 strikeouts
Wright did technically enter the game to save Jimenez’s poor outing, but it didn’t quite go as planned. Two hit-by-pitches, a walk and two productive Angels outs led to two runs in the top of the fourth, making it 8-1 and, obviously, putting things out of reach.
Jonathan Schoop crushed a deep, deep blast to left in the bottom of the fourth to double the O’s score, but that didn’t stop the Angels from scoring. They kept pressing Wright, tacking on plenty of baserunners and another run in the sixth to again bump their lead to seven.
With the score at 9-2 in the bottom of the sixth, things got just interesting enough to give the full Camden Yards crowd a sliver a hope before it was abruptly swiped away.
After Shoemaker allowed a single to Manny Machado and walked Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo looped an RBI single to left to score #13. That made it 9-3, as Mike Scioscia went to his bullpen, calling upon fastball-heavy righty Cam Bedrosian.
With runners at first and second with one out, Jonathan Schoop was hit in the helmet by a 94 MPH fastball (he walked to first and was cleared by Richie Bancells) to load the bases for eight-hole hitter Pedro Alvarez. He struck out, leaving J.J. Hardy to either severely dent the Angels lead, or to send fans briskly walking to the parking lot.
Unfortunately, the latter became the reality. He fanned on a check swing, ending the inning and effectively forcing three final innings of - for lack of a better term - garbage time.
On the bright side, Chaz Roe entered in the seventh and worked two fantastic innings of baseball, while Odrisamer Despaigne did the same in the ninth. The offense couldn’t claw their way back into the win column, but perhaps positive Roe and Despaigne news is the perfect ending to this very imperfect game.
Now at 49-36, the Orioles will finish up this home series against the Angels and potentially capture their 50th win before taking what appears to be a much-needed All-Star hiatus.
- Mark Trumbo crushed a line-drive HR to left in the ninth inning to boost his season total to 27. Watching him in the Home Run Derby on Monday is going to be a treat.
- J.J. Hardy had a pair of errors on the night, two ground balls. Perhaps getting them out of the way in games like these isn’t the worst thing in the world.
- Ubaldo Jimenez is now 5-9 with a 7.38 ERA. You didn’t read that wrong.