The Orioles and Blue Jays faced off tonight in game two of their three game series, a game that started off as a pitchers’ duel and ended as an embarrassment. The Orioles spent seven innings getting no hit and followed that up with one game-deciding debacle of an inning.
You could say I’m not feeling very positing about the Orioles tonight. At least Andrew Cashner was good.
The Hard Luck Start
Cashner did his part in this game. While the offense was failing on all levels, Cashner pitched himself into and out of several jams, ultimately pitching seven shutout innings to keep his team in the game.
It wasn’t always pretty, though. Casher walked three, including the first batter of the game, and he had just one inning without any base runners allowed. But he didn’t allow any extra base hits and that combined with six strikeouts allowed him to keep the Jays off the board.
Despite what Mike Bordick had to say from the broadcast booth, this was not a dominant performance from Cashner. But it was good enough for a win, which unfortunately he did not get. Overall I have liked what I’ve seen from Cashner so far this year. If he can keep it up the Orioles might be in better shape overall than I expected.
The Almost No-No
Starting for the Blue Jays tonight was Aaron Sanchez, and he straight up dominated the Orioles. It really couldn’t have been much worse. The Orioles were flailing at pitches and looked like a team ripe to get no hit.
But Sanchez wasn’t perfect. He hit Jonathan Schoop in the first inning, and walked four batters in innings two through seven. But he didn’t put more than one runner on in an inning and the Orioles barely made him work. Even with four walks, his pitch count was so low that it looked like he might not only end up with a no hitter, but also a Maddux.
Through seven innings it seemed like the Orioles had no chance. It felt like there was no hope. Well, it turned out that there was hope and the Orioles did have a chance in the very next inning, but like many things so far this season, they blew it.
The Most Embarrassing Inning of All
With Cashner and Sanchez trading zeroes, it felt like it might come down to just one run, and in the eighth inning the Blue Jays got it. And the really crappy thing was, the Orioles didn’t have to give it up. It was sloppy play that gave the Jays the lead.
Cashner departed after seven innings and Miguel Castro took his place on the mound. He issued a one-out walk to Justin Smoak and then threw a wild pitch to allow Smoak to get to second base. The next batter, Yangervis Solarte, dumped a hit into right field. Smoak got a late start as the ball had hung up in the air, and he slowed to a stop at third base.
That seemed fortunate for the Orioles, but for some reason Anthony Santander threw the ball past the cut off man, directly to Sisco behind the plate. Sisco made a terrible stab at the ball and it skipped past him. Castro was backing him up and let the ball get past him and it rolled into the Blue Jays’ dugout! Smoak was stopped at third and they awarded him home!
I mean, come on. Get it together, Orioles.
Castro got out of the inning without allowing another run, despite an error by Tim Beckham at third base. What an ugly inning. And it wasn’t over.
Sanchez came back out to start the eighth inning, no hitter intact. But for the first time that night, the Orioles showed signs of life.
Beckham started off the inning with a hard hit ball to third base that went directly through Josh Donaldson’s legs and into left field. Beckham was credited with a double, but for my money a ball that goes through a player’s legs should be an error.
Before I could feel bad that a ball between the legs ended a no hitter, Anthony Santander hit a clean single to right field to put runners on the corners, and Chance Sisco lined a double down the right field line to knock in the tying run and put two runners in scoring position with no outs.
The three fielders who had screwed things up in the top half of the inning were doing their part. And with runners on second and third an no outs, surely the Birds would score at least one run, right? One measly go-ahead run?
Trey Mancini, who had been robbed of two hits in the game, hit a fly ball to center field for the the first out. The Jays issued an intentional pass to Manny Machado, which brought the ice cold Jonathan Schoop to the plate. All he had to do was not hit into a double play, so naturally that’s exactly what he did.
The Sad Ending
After a terrible inning in which the Orioles gave up a run they shouldn’t have and failed to score at least one run that they should have, Buck Showalter turned to Darren O’Day to hold the tie and give the Orioles a chance to walk off.
O’Day had appeared in four games before tonight, and he looked pretty good overall. But tonight it just wasn’t to be. He got two quick outs just for the sake of getting our hopes up, then gave up a home run to the 87-year-old Curtis Granderson. It was enough to seal the loss as the Orioles quickly went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.
So, that was not fun. Tomorrow the Orioles will send Kevin Gausman to the mound to try and avoid the sweep. After watching tonight’s debacle, I don’t feel hopeful.