Don’t look now, but the Orioles are making people dream about what could have been for this team. They beat the Texas Rangers 10-2 on Wednesday at Camden Yards for their third consecutive victory after a disappointing sweep at the hands of the Cubs to begin the second half of the season.
The Gas-man is back
Kevin Gausman was the star of the show early on as the right-hander had just a single blemish on his evening, finishing the game with a line of six innings, allowing one run on four hits, two walks and eight strikeouts.
That one run allowed came in the fifth inning when Joey Gallo smacked a one-out solo home run. It was a fastball that the Orioles starter left up in the zone just a little too much. But Gausman responded by striking out the next two hitters, something that was good to see as the flamethrower has had a tendency to lose his head when things go wrong this summer.
It was a battle type of outing for Gausman. His only 1-2-3 inning came in the game’s opening frame. But he had his good fastball. Better yet? It seems as though he actually had a good feel for the pitch, as he dotted it around the perimeter of the strike zone. Please, Kev, keep doing that!
On the flip side of things, Martin Perez, the Rangers’s starting pitcher, began his night by coughing up an Adam Jones home run to lead off the bottom of the first inning. Just like that, the Birds had an early 1-0 lead.
The left-handed starter would give up two more runs in the third inning as the O’s sent six hitters to the plate. With two outs, a single by Jones and a walk to Manny Machado set the stage for Jonathan Schoop. The Orioles lone all-star smacked an elevated fastball off of the out-of-town scoreboard in right field, scoring the two runners.
Between then and the seventh inning, it was smooth sailing for Perez. His pitch count was low and he was getting hitters out. But back-to-back singles from Trey Mancini and Caleb Joseph in that seventh inning prompted Texas manager Jeff Banister to make a change, swapping Perez for Matt Bush. That would prove to be an unwise decision.
Beat up the bullpen
Bush threw four REALLY hard fastballs to Joey Rickard. But they were all out of the strike zone, so he walked to load the bases. Ruben Tejada followed with a weak grounder to second base, where Rougned Odor collected the ball and fired home, but catcher Robinson Chirinos flubbed the catch. Everyone was safe and Mancini scored to make it 4-1. A hard Jones single moments later brought Rickard home and put a cap on Perez’s stats for the night.
The lefty was solid, and probably deserved better than what he got. His line: six innings, five runs (four earned) on seven hits, one walk and three strikeouts. Now, back to that seventh inning...
Back-to-back singles from Machado and Schoop scored Rickard and Tejada, respectively. But the bases remained chalk-full of Birds. Both Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis struck out (shocker), leaving it up to the man who started this rally, Mancini. The rookie came through in a big way. He laced a hard line drive into the power alley in right field for a triple, scoring all three runners and knocking Bush out of the game (0.2 innings, five runs, two earned, four hits, one walk, two strikeouts). Jeremy Jeffress tagged in and struck out Joseph to stop the bleeding. When it was all said and done, the O’s had scored seven runs and now had a massive 10-1 advantage.
Lock it down
That was all they would need as the bullpen was comfortable enough protecting a nine-run lead. Mychal Givens delivered a scoreless seventh inning. Donnie Hart followed with a zero in the eighth inning, but the southpaw struggled to finish things off in the ninth.
A trio of singles from Mike Napoli, Carlos Gomez and Chirinos led to one run (Napoli scored on Chirinos’s single) to make it a 10-2 game. But that’s as close as it would get. Shin Soo Choo grounded out to end the game, which means the O’s are now on a winning streak. What? This feeling, it’s so unfamiliar. Joy? After watching a baseball game. I can’t handle it!
Too good to be true
Don’t be lulled into a false sense that these Orioles are suddenly contenders because they have whooped up on the Texas Rangers this series, though. The two teams now have the same overall record and the Birds have been a good team at Camden Yards all along.
However, this is a reminder that the Orioles are not as terrible as they have played for the last month or two. This offense can do nasty things when clicking, and Gausman has the “stuff” to be an ace in this league. But they seriously lack consistency and until they show an ability to regularly win three out of four, they remain a team that should be sellers at this summer’s fast-approaching non-waiver trade deadline.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t be happy for one night. This was a good win. It’s nice to win running away two nights in a row. Things like this can always snowball.
Going for the sweep
Wade Miley (4-8, 5.40 ERA) will be on the bump Thursday as the O’s go for the rare four-game sweep. The Rangers will counter with southpaw Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.05 ERA). First pitch is 7:05 p.m. and the game will air on MLB Network for those outside of “Birdland”. See ya at The Yard!
Who was the Most Birdland Player for July 19th?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Schoop (3-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 R)
Trey Mancini (2-for-4, 3 RBI, 1 R)
Adam Jones (3-for-5, 2 RBI, lead-off HR)
Kevin Gausman (win, 6.0 IP, 8 SO, 4 H, 2 BB, 1 R)