The Orioles came into this series against the Arizona Diamondbacks needing to pick up a sweep against a bad team, and that’s just what they did. After scoring six runs last night, the offense went back into hibernation today as a home run from Hyun Soo Kim was the only good bit of hitting they got in the game.
The pitching staff was the star tonight, holding the D-Backs to just one run in the game. The end result was the three-game sweep and the O’s 85th win of the season.
O’s Offense Fails Against Another 5 ERA Starter
When the Orioles scored six runs against the D-Backs last night I hoped it might mean they were waking up at the plate. If today is any indication, that’s not really true. The starter for the D-Backs, Braden Shipley, came into the game with a 5.49 ERA. That’s not good.
After wasting a double by Manny Machado in the first inning, the Orioles did get on the board in the second thanks to a two-run home run from Hyun Soo Kim. Those two runs were the only runs the Orioles scored in the game, despite men on in every inning against Shipley.
In the third inning, Chris Davis walked only to be wiped out on a double play from Machado. In the fourth, J.J. Hardy singled with two outs and Kim couldn’t extend the inning. In the fifth, Caleb Joseph reached on a three-base error with one out but couldn’t score. And in the sixth, Shipley walked two batters with one out and then it was Hardy’s turn to hit into an inning ending double play.
Shipley came out after six with a pitching line of 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 6 K. It was very frustrating, but thanks to Dylan Bundy’s good, albeit short, outing, two runs was enough to put Shipley in line for the loss.
Bundy Bounces Back
A number of us, myself included, have been worried about Dylan Bundy lately. Is his recent ineffectiveness due to fatigue that could lead to injury? He says that’s not what is going on and so do the Orioles brass. They have tried to give him extra rest when they can, including today which was with one extra day’s rest.
Bundy’s start today was a mixed bag, but he started out looking very good. He retired the first nine batters he faced, which is something that we have seen him do before. He racked up five strikeouts in those first three innings and was looking good.
Then in the fourth inning Bundy got into a bit of trouble. Jean Segura was the first batter of the inning and he doubled down the left field line. Two batters later Paul Goldschmidt lined a ball to right field that easily scored Segura. Mark Trumbo actually made a pretty nice play to hold Goldie to a single. Bundy also issued a walk in the inning but no more runs scored.
Bundy bounced back with two quick outs to start the fifth before a blooper by Socrates Brito continued the inning. Brito represented the tying run and Bundy was very concerned about him trying to steal. He threw over several times until Chris Davis botched one of his catches, which sent Brito to second. That’s no good.
If that wasn’t enough, Bundy then hit Segura to put another runner on base. There was some question if the ball hit the knob of the bat and not Segura himself, but the review upheld the call on the field (it looked to me like a foul ball).
When in doubt, get them to hit the ball to Manny Machado. That’s what Bundy did to Chris Owings and Manny made a very nice throw to first to end the inning.
That was it for Bundy. His laborious fourth and fifth innings left him with a pitch count of 92 after five innings. His final line was 5 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Overall not a bad start. He left the game with a 2-1 lead.
Bullpen Holds The Lead
One nice thing about Wade Miley pitching 8 2⁄3 innings last night is that pretty much the entire bullpen got the day off. That’s good when the next day’s starting pitcher only goes five innings.
Mychal Givens came in to pitch the sixth and seventh innings and he was outstanding. In the sixth inning Givens struck out three batters on three pitches each, all three swinging. He also hit a batter, but that wasn’t as fun. And in the seventh he pitched an easy 1-2-3.
Brad Brach made things interesting in the eighth inning, but in his defense it’s really easy to make things interesting when your team only has a one-run lead. A one-out walk and stolen base but the tying run at second for Goldschmidt, but Brach struck both him and Wellington Castillo out to hold the lead.
With his perfect streak on the line, Zach Britton came in and secured his 46th straight saves. Post game Britton said he didn’t feel his best, but thankfully he got a great play from Machado for one out. And plus Britton not at his best is still pretty good.
O’s win! They have the day off tomorrow and start a huge three-game series against the Blue Jays on Tuesday. The Blue Jays currently have a 1.5 game lead on the O’s for the first wild card and they play tomorrow.
Even as I watched today’s game and was invested in the outcome for our Birds, the tragic death of Jose Fernandez wasn’t far from my mind.
Usually we use baseball as a distraction from real life, and sometimes the real life comes crashing through the sport we love. Today is one of those days. I didn’t know Jose Fernandez and there is nothing I can say about him that someone else couldn’t say better, but I know we are all struck by what happened.
The reality that such a young and talented man can have his life taken in an instant is a harsh one and something that is hard to accept. Hold your loved ones close because you never know what the future holds.