Well, baseball season is back, Orioles fans. Wasn’t opening day fun? A walk-off win. A good pitching performance. It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s a good thing we all enjoyed that, because the reality of the 2018 season might have just hit us in the gut against the Twins in game two.
The Orioles are 1-1, and the details were not pretty. Let’s just say... this recap is not a hit.
Going into the ninth inning, the Orioles had just one of those precious hits.
The recap could end there and it might just be better for all of us. But for those of you who want to re-live that game, there are some details below.
Excitement for Andrew Cashner’s first start as an Oriole was high... and it lasted for about 11 pitches. On the 12th pitch of the night, Miguel Sano took a fastball up in the zone and launched it a long way into the left field seats. That made it 1-0 Twins — and while that wasn’t exactly a deadly blow, the problem is that Cashner’s struggles, particularly with the long ball, didn’t end there.
In the third, it was Jason Castro taking him deep for a solo shot. In the fourth, Max Kepler. Cashner had some stuff on the night, but the Twins simply kept finding the sweet spot early and couldn’t stay off the board. A few bad pitches is all it took for them to put a handful of balls over the wall and stretch the lead.
With another run crossing the plate in the top of the fifth on a Miguel Sano double play (not a terrible trade-off), Cashner’s night came to a close after five. His outing is a difficult one to describe, because the potential of his upside was on display. He had moments where you could very clearly see “the guy” the Orioles want to have as a mainstay in the rotation. But when you leave too many pitches over the plate, bad things are going to happen. Alas, that’s baseball.
Cashner finished the night with the following line: 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 5 K.
It might get lost in the box score in this game, but the sixth inning from Nestor Cortes was quite the wild ride. After walking two and allowing a single to get into a bases loaded, no out situation, Cortes came back with a strikeout of Byron Buxton and a Castro 1-2-3 double play to end the threat. In a game like this, it’s the little things that you have to tip your cap to and be appreciative of. (That may be a theme throughout this season)
It was a good frame for Cortes, but on this night, nothing went in a consistently positive direction. Fitting the script, the seventh didn’t treat the lefty as well. After Brian Dozier led off with a double, Joe Mauer got a ball through the infield for an RBI single to advance the Twins lead. After seven full, it was 6-0 Twins.
The ever-present zero in the hits column lasted until the eighth, after Twins starter Kyle Gibson was pulled following six innings of strong work. But as bad as this game was, Jonathan Schoop saved the Orioles from total disaster. With two outs against Ryan Pressly, he took a first-pitch breaking ball up the middle that found the outfield grass — a hit!
It didn’t lead to a run, but hey — one hit is better than none. And perhaps that’s what was needed for a bit of confidence, because the ninth inning did provide a bit of a spark to wrap up the night.
A Danny Valencia double set the stage for Tim Beckham, who had what would be the at-bat of the night for the O’s. He saw a 1-0 changeup over the heart of the plate and blasted it to left-center to clear the outfield wall. It was a little late, but it got the Orioles on the board nonetheless. That made it 6-2, and while that’s where this one would end, it made it a bit easier to handle.
The beauty of baseball is that there is, in fact, a tomorrow. And in tomorrow’s game, it’s going to be Kevin Gausman taking the hill on Easter Sunday against Jose Berrios. The visiting starter twirled multiple gems last season and worked a smooth 2017. Over 145.2 innings, he posted a 3.89 ERA with only 131 hits against. For a struggling Orioles offense, that’s not exactly the best news.
Tomorrow’s first pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET. We’ll see you back here for that one — hopefully with a bit of a happier post-game celebration.