Welp, that went about as well as could be expected, right? The Cleveland Indians came into this series against the Baltimore Orioles on a tear of 15 straight victories. Now, after beating the Birds 5-0 at Progressive Field on Friday, the defending American League Champions are winners of 16 consecutive games.
If you’ve ever seen Wade Miley pitch in any other game, you’ve seen the start he delivered tonight. The left-hander fought through 5.2 clunky innings, allowing four runs on six hits, three walks and four strikeouts. It was so perfectly below average from the most perfectly below average pitcher in the game
To be fair, most of Miley’s trouble came in the opening frame. He walked the lead-off hitter, Francisco Lindor, which is never a good idea. After a fielder’s choice from Austin Jackson, Yandy Diaz singled to right field on a sharp line drive. Moments later, Edwin Encarnacion launched a home run over the center field fence for three RBIs and a jaunt around the bases for Encarnacion and his invisible parrot.
From the second inning through the fifth inning, Miley got by relatively unscathed. He faced just 13 hitters across those four innings and always managed to work his way out of danger.
His luck ran out in the sixth inning. Diaz led off with a double, and then Miley got the next two batters to ground out. He was nearly out of trouble when Carlos Santana hit a sky high ball towards the right field foul line. The fly ball stayed in the air for what seemed like hours, but the combination of Seth Smith’s concrete hooves and his positioning in the field allowed the ball to hit the chalk and bounce into the crowd for a ground-rule double. Diaz scored to make it 4-0 Indians and put a cap on Miley’s night.
From there, Orioles manager Buck Showalter turned the ball over to Miguel Castro. The righty managed to get out of Miley’s mess in the sixth inning but then gave up a run of his own in the seventh. Lindor got a one-out single and then back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Encarnacion. Amazingly enough, Castro struck out the slugger on five pitches and was then lifted for Richard Bleier. The southpaw eventually struck out Jay Bruce to end the inning, but not before a wild pitch allowed Lindor to score from third and make it a 5-0 advantage for Cleveland.
Meanwhile, the Orioles offense looked downright helpless against the best pitching staff in the American League. Is anyone surprised by this?
But what will really stick in the craw of many is the strikeouts. The Orioles struck out 11 times on Friday. Whatever. They K a lot. That happens. But SIX of the strike threes were looking. Good grief, get the bats off your shoulders, gentlemen.
Not that the O’s were ever terribly close to scoring anyway. They had runners on the corners in the third inning with two outs, but Jonathan Schoop struck out to end that threat. And in the ninth inning Trey Mancini made it to second base on a single and a wild pitch, but went no farther. Those were the two biggest chances of the game.
There’s not much else to say about the Baltimore bats on this night. They were bad, but it came against really good pitching. Mike Clevinger, and his hair, delivered six shutout innings and allowed just three hits and struck out seven while walking three. And then the bullpen trio of Tyler Olson, Bryan Shaw and Nick Goody combined for three clean innings.
Sometimes ya lose, and sometimes ya get beat. The Orioles got beat tonight.
At least Simone Biles was there.
That’s pretty cool.
The O’s will look to even up this series at a game apiece on Saturday. It’s an interesting pitching matchup. Gabriel Ynoa (1-0, 3.68 ERA) heads to the hill for the Birds in place of Tillman. For Cleveland, righty Josh Tomlin (8-9, 5.20 ERA) is on the bump. First pitch is 1:05 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on FOX. Sleep fast!
Oh, and before I forget, Chance Sisco got his first MLB at-bat in this game. It came in the eighth inning against Shaw, and he struck out on six pitches. Welcome to the bigs!