The Orioles entered the game Friday night with a 32-33 record, while going 3-7 in their last 10 games. Anyone following the team knows things haven’t been good lately. In fact, watching has been downright painful and they seem dangerously close to completely derailing. The Cardinals, perhaps even more disappointing than the O’s, entered at 30-35, 4-6 in their last ten and losers of three in a row.
Something must give at Camden Yards this weekend, starting tonight. Either the O’s or Cards are going to turn things around, for a few days at least, while the other continues spiraling in the wrong direction.
The top of the sixth basically decided the game as seven Cardinals came to the plate and four scored. The inning was a narrative of the O’s season – some good, but more bad, while close to getting the job done. The first two hitters in the inning were retired (good). This was followed by a mix, including: back-to-back home runs (bad), a 10 pitch at bat that almost ended on a foul tip (close), a foul ball almost caught down the line by Jonathan Schoop (close) and a flood of foul balls to extend at bats (close and bad). The result of the inning was four runs (bad) and a big deficit (bad).
The story of the game is a familiar one for fans of the orange and black. Limited offense, mediocre to poor starting pitching and terrible relief pitching.
Familiar early Inning story for Gausman
After Kevin Gausman’s last outing – Sunday at Yankee Stadium where he was tagged for seven runs, eight hits and six walks in 3.1 innings – it was good to see him get through the first two innings allowing zero runs, only one hit and one walk. However, that positive momentum did not continue and will not be remembered.
In the third, Gausman continued his 2017 story of early inning troubles. Singles by LF Jose Martinez, 2B Paul DeJong and 1B Matt Carpenter loaded the bases with nobody out for DH Dexter Fowler. Fowler – the outfielder that spurned the O’s during the 2015 off-season surprisingly signing with the Chicago Cubs – walked, scoring a run making it 1-0, and the bases were still loaded with no outs.
RF Stephen Piscotty hit a sacrifice fly, scoring another run, and it was 2-0 with runners on second and third. Gausman got out of the inning with no more damage. Being down 2-0 isn’t good, but Gausman avoided complete meltdown mode, so maybe it was something to build on. Unfortunately, the building was short and extremely limited.
O’s have their own rally with no outs - practically the only highlight
In the bottom of the third inning, Hyun Soo Kim singled – why isn’t this guy playing more? – and Seth Smith doubled to left. The O’s had two on and nobody out themselves. Manny Machado hit a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Kim and advancing Smith. The bottom of the inning was a near mirror image of the top.
Adam Jones followed with a strikeout on a 100mph pitch from RHP Carlos Martinez. It was 2-1 Cards after three innings. And things were only going to get worse. Way worse.
Gausman and Ynoa are bad; Kim shows off his range and arm twice
In the fourth, SS Aledmys Diaz smoked a single to left field and was thrown out by Kim as he tried to stretch it into a double. It was a combination terrible base running and great play by Kim – why isn’t this guy playing more? – and Jonathan Schoop was spiked on his left hand applying the tag to the runner, but stayed in the game.
With two outs, number nine hitter Paul DeJong homered to left making it 4-1, and he was 2-2 on the night at this point. Kevin Gausman looked like anything but a pitcher turning his season around.
Dexter Fowler singled leading off the fifth – St. Louis had base runners in each of the first five innings, not a recipe for Orioles success – 3B Jedd Gyorko walked with one out, and the Cards had two on base again. C Yadier Molina was next and he hit into a not so standard 7-4 double play, Kim – why isn’t this guy playing more? – to Schoop, and Gausman was through five shaky innings.
Entering the sixth, Gausman had already thrown 95 pitches. Diaz grounded out, CF Tommy Pham struck out looking and Jose Martinez, in a 10 pitch at bat, doubled to right with two outs. That meant curtains for Gausman after 5.2 innings.
Kevin was replaced by Gabriel Ynoa who promptly gave up a first pitch run scoring single, followed by a two-run home run to Matt Carpenter, his 13th of the season, and it was 7-1 St. Louis. Dexter Fowler kept the party going with a homerun to right and it was 8-1.
Not a good outing for Gausman and an even worse appearance for Ynoa. Gausman ended with seven strikeouts, three walks, nine hits and five runs allowed. Ynoa’s sixth inning line was 0.1 innings, charged with three hits, three runs and two home runs allowed. Yuck. Luckily, for anyone that bet the over on Friday’s game, Ynoa’s struggles continued in the seventh with a two-run home run to left – an absolute bomb to the back of the section – off the bat of Tommy Pham, extending the lead to 10-1. From two outs in the sixth, through the seventh, the Cards made it look like batting practice.
Vidal Nuno pitched the eighth and ninth for Baltimore. He kept pace with Gausman and Ynoa allowing a home run to right from Jedd Gyorko. Trey Mancini homered in the ninth on a slider for the O’s second run of the night.
RHP Sam Tuivailala – from San Mateo, CA – pitched the eighth and ninth innings for St. Louis. Sam’s last name spelled backwards is Alaliaviut.
The O’s lost the first game of the weekend series 11-2.
Notes and Saturday’s game
Amazingly, given the last month plus, the Orioles still have the second-best home record in the American League. 21 of their 32 wins have come at Camden Yards.
Trey Mancini’s second inning single extended his hitting streak to seven.
Hyun Soo Kim’s fifth inning single gave him his second multi-hit game of 2017.
Gabriel Ynoa had not allowed a home run in his MLB career before Friday when he gave up three.
Friday night was Kevin Gausman’s 15th start of the season. He has three wins.
The O’s have given up ten or more runs in four of their last seven games.
St. Louis hit five home runs Friday night, a season high. They also ended an eight-game road losing streak.
Every position player, for both teams, saw action in the game.
Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil attended the University of Maryland and is from Dunkirk. He played Friday night.
Saturday at 4:05pm the O’s host the Cardinals again at Camden Yards. Wade Miley (2-4, 3.97) is slated to face Adam Wainwright (7-4, 4.73).