Camden Yards first opened in 1992, 25 years ago. Tonight the Orioles honored the 1992 team with a home run derby and a pre-game ceremony to honor the players, including Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson, Chris Hoiles, and more. A full house was on hand to help celebrate and to cheer on the current team to what would hopefully be a second straight win.
Well, hopefully the crowd enjoyed the celebration of the 1992 team, because the 2017 team didn’t give them much to enjoy. The offense pretty much disappeared, Kevin Gausman had a very poor outing, and to top it all off there was a rain delay. The end result was a 5-1 loss to the Angels.
Gausman Gets Rocked
Last night Jeremy Hellickson gave up five runs on four homers in the first two innings and eventually the Orioles came back and won the game. Tonight, it felt like Kevin Gausman looked at that road map and thought, “Hey, it worked for him!” Sadly, giving up a boat load of dingers isn’t actually the way to win a game, which Gausman learned tonight.
The first home run that Gausman gave up was to Mike Trout. It was not a great pitch, a mid-90s fast ball up in the strike zone, but I don’t generally look down too much on a home run from the greatest baseball player currently playing. But quickly it became evident that Gausman’s problem was not facing Trout; he was just very much off his game. He gave up another home run to Trout the second time he faced him, because as I’ve mentioned, he was bad tonight.
If giving up a home run to Mike Trout can be forgiven, not so much is giving up two home runs to Luis Valbuena. Valbuena did have 13 home runs coming into the game, but he also was hitting .191/.254/.390. He’s not the guy that you let beat you, and yet that is what Gausman did. Twice. The first was a solo shot in the second inning, the second a two-run homer in fourth inning that made the score 5-1.
The Angels scored in each of the first four innings and if it were up to Gausman they probably would have scored in the fifth as well. He faced two batters in the inning, the second on his fourth walk of the game. That was finally enough to get Buck Showalter out of the dugout, he pulled Gausman for Miguel Castro.
Castro was able to strand both of Gausman’s runners despite a terrible throw by Tim Beckham to botch a double play, followed by a walk of his own. He got all three outs, the third of which was on a long fly ball that looked for a second like it might be a grand slam. Seth Smith caught it just in front of the left field wall.
Gausman has been on a good run of late, 1.80 ERA over his last six starts before tonight. But this was his second poor start out of three, the other also against the Angels when he gave up four runs in 5 1⁄3 innings in California. His pitching line tonight was an ugly one: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 4 HR.
The O’s bullpen put up a very good showing, but the damage was done. Castro, Richard Bleier, and Mychal Givens didn’t allow any runs and only Castro gave up a hit. Givens in particular was great, striking out four of the six batters he faced.
Offense Goes Missing
While it’s very true that Gausman pitched a poor game, the truth is that he would have had to be nearly perfect to make a difference in this game. Other than one run the first inning the O’s offense wasn’t able to do any more against Angels’ starter JC Ramirez.
Things got off to a great start with a lead off double from Tim Beckham and an infield by Manny Machado to put runners on the corners with no outs. Beckham scored on a wild pitch, with Machado moving to second. Machado moved to third on a ground out and Adam Jones walked, but then Trey Mancini hit into an inning-ending double play.
And that was about all the excitement we saw. Ramirez had just one 1-2-3 inning in his 5 2⁄3 pitched, but the Orioles couldn’t get the job done. They went just 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and the one was Machado’s infield single in the first. They didn’t do any better against the Angels bullpen, as three relief pitchers combined to allow just two hits in 3 1⁄3 innings.
The Orioles and Angels will play the rubber game tomorrow at 1:35 p.m. As of this writing the starter is still officially TBD, but it will most likely be Chris Tillman. Parker Bridwell will pitch for the Angels, which makes me think it will definitely be a loss.