Before the first pitch, fangraphs.com had the probability of The Orioles winning this game at precisely 50% (no, they don’t all start at or even near 50%), which seemed rather optimistic given how each the Red Sox and the O’s have played lately. I suppose there is the fact that the O’s were still an impressive 17-8 (now 18-8) at home to begin the night—and it’s pretty difficult to find something to call “impressive” about this current bunch right now, so there’s that.
The Orioles came into tonight’s game losing 8 of their last 10. Wade Miley began the game for Baltimore sporting a fancy 3.02 ERA, a much less fancy 4.62 FIP (fielding-independent pitching), and leading the league in walks issued.
The Red Sox began the night with a league-leading .345 OBP and winning 8 of their last 10 contests. Eduardo Rodriguez had thrown seven consecutive quality starts, and was sporting a career 3-1 record and 1.34 ERA in six starts at Camden Yards.
What could go wrong?
Well, a lot… but as it turned out, after 27 outs were recorded by the Orioles, much, much more had gone right than wrong, and they walked away with a series-opening win against the Red Sox. Let’s take a look at just how it all happened.
Potential doom and gloom greeted the O’s and Wade Miley in the very first at-bat of the game, as Miley opened by going 3-1 on Mookie Betts. Betts likes to hit at Camden Yards. Most baseball players presumably like to hit 3-1. Betts put a charge into a ball, and Adam Jones ranged to left-center field to take back what would have been a leadoff home run. Thank you, Adam. The rest of the first inning went quickly, and there was no damage to speak of—an inning that didn’t look dominant, but was a 1-2-3 inning nonetheless.
Manny Machado got a little BABIP love to bust up his 0-18 with two down in the Orioles half of the first, and Mark Trumbo decided that busting up an 0-for was in vogue this frame. Previously 0-14 off of Rodriguez, Mark absolutely destroyed a ball to his pull side. Chris Young wasn’t bringing that one back, and the ball soared down the left field line, landing half way up the lower level of the stands. No other Oriole who batted in the inning reached base, but the O’s headed into the second leading 2-0.
Potential doom and gloom knocked at the door once more in the Red Sox half of the second inning. The Orioles started work chipping away at their own lead, with Chris Davis throwing an infield single into the Orioles dugout with one down. That put Sam Travis on second base, and after the second out was recorded on a groundout to Machado, Christian Vazquez looped a single into center, scoring Travis.
Jackie Bradley Jr. then shot a single through to center, putting runners on first and third with two down. Deven Marrero worked a 3-2 count, eventually grounding out to J.J. Hardy to end the inning. It had the feeling of a potentially big inning, but the Orioles managed to limit the damage, and the score was 2-1.
That score would stand until the bottom of the fourth, with notable highlights in the intervening time being: Trey Mancini Man-Mashing a glorious double to right center that looked like it would have gotten out of the park with a little bit more behind it and CaJo mowing down Chris Young trying to swipe second.
In the bottom of the fourth, Chris Davis donged a dong of his own, increasing the O’s lead to 3-1 with a mammoth solo shot to left-center. Then, in the bottom of the sixth, Adam Jones decided to join the dongfest with a solo homer that barely scaled the left field wall on a line. The crew chief initiated a review to confirm that it was indeed out of the park. It was. The O’s lead increased to 4-1, but the “rally killer” did not in fact kill this rally.
Machado and Trumbo both reached on singles, and after a Chris Davis strikeout and a Trey Mancini groundout, Jonathan Schoop walloped an Earl Weaver special far, far out of the yard. The score was now 7-1 and the Orioles would not relinquish that lead.
Mike Wright came on to pitch in relief, and looked excellent in the eighth. He did not look good in the ninth, however. He got himself into trouble, allowing a run on a trio of singles. Potential doom and gloom, who I’m convinced is currently occupying the imaginary 26th spot on the O’s roster, reared its head once more.
Buck Showalter called upon Donnie Hart to close things out with two down and two on. Donnie did in fact close things down, but not before allowing a three-run home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. to tighten the lead to 7-5. Donnie then got the very next batter, Pablo Sandoval, to ground out to end the game.
For much of the season, Miley has been a walking caveat. “His results were good, but…” But tonight, there was no caveat to his good results. His final line was a very good 7.0IP 5H 1R 1BB 3SO, and he actually threw 65 strikes out of 109 total pitches. That’ll certainly do.
The Orioles have now won consecutive games for the first time since May 19 and 20 against Toronto, and perhaps turning the calendar over to June is just what they needed to turn a corner. This win wasn’t easy in the end, but what do we say in Birdland? “You don’t have to give them back.” Let’s mark this one in the win column and move on.
The O’s will seek their third consecutive victory tomorrow at 7:05pm EST with Alec Asher going for redemption against 2016 Cy Young award winner (and 2017 mediocre pitcher) Rick Porcello.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for June 1, 2017?
This poll is closed
Wade Miley: seven full innings, 1ER, only 1BB, W
Mark Trumbo: first to arrive to the dongfest; 3-4 on the night
Jonathan Schoop: Earl Weaver special that ended up being the difference in the game
Manny Machado: snapped 0-18 streak, going 2-4