On a night when the most talked about Orioles news was the pending trade of Zach Britton to the New York Yankees, the team on the field went about their business and picked up a rare win, their 29th of the season. Things got dicey for them in the late innings, to the surprise of no one. But in the end they were on the right side of a 7-6 score.
Getting the ball tonight was Yefry Ramirez, making his his fifth start of the season. He got through five innings without letting things get out of hand, but struggled with the long ball. That trouble started in the very first inning against J.D. Martinez. Meaty fastballs in the low 90s will often be hit over the fence by Martinez, and that’s what happened here.
After that Ramirez looked good! That’s not me exaggerating either. Starting with a strikeout of Xander Bogaerts to end the first, Ramirez retired 12 of the next 13 batters with just a walk in the second allowed. In those first four innings he struck out six batters. But then he ran into trouble.
With two outs in the fifth, Ramirez’s smooth start screeched to a halt. With heavy rain falling and the grounds crew making their way from the outfield shed to stand behind the tarp, Ramirez gave up back-to-back home runs to Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts. Betts is a dinger machine this year, it was his 24th of the season. But it was just the first home run of the year for Swihart. In fact, it was his first major league home run since 2015. Welp.
Ramirez finished up the fifth inning with his team now trailing 3-2. They had taken a 2-1 lead in the third inning on a two-run homer from Jonathan Schoop, who has really been on fire of late. Do you think he might be the next Oriole to go?
So, Ramirez blew the lead. But the Orioles picked him up immediately, with another two-run home run. This one came from Tim Beckham, who has not been on fire of late. Well done, Tim! I’ll do my best to remember that later when you try to blow the game with your defense.
For those keeping track, all seven runs scored in the first five innings of this game were scored on home runs. The Orioles mixed that up in the very next inning, scoring three runs on small ball. I know!
With one out, Chris Davis took a walk and then stole second base! Maybe not the best idea, but it worked. Renato Nunez followed with a walk and Caleb Joseph singled up the middle. Bogaerts got a glove on it but didn’t make a throw. It seemed like he got to it in time to throw to first on a slow runner, but it didn’t happen. Bases loaded.
That brought Beckham to the plate and he put together a truly impressive at bat against Joe Kelly. After getting to a 1-2 count, Beckham fouled off five of the next seven pitches, working the count to 3-2. On the 11th pitch of the at bat, Beckham sent a long fly ball to right field that gave Davis plenty of time to tag up and score the fourth run of the game.
Not to be outdone by these small ball techniques, both Schoop and Adam Jones hit opposite field singles to pick up an RBI. Schoop went right through the hole between first and second and Jones blooped one inside the foul line. Just like that the Orioles were up 7-3 and I started to feel confident.
Don’t feel confident in this team, Stacey. Don’t ever do it!
Mike Wright had taken over for Ramirez after five innings and pitched a perfect sixth that was broken up by a 27-minute rain delay. He was followed by Paul Fry, who also acquitted himself well. He left with one out in the eighth inning and a runner on first and, well, that’s when things got ugly.
What was once a comfortable lead disappeared rather quickly after Mychael Givens came onto the scene. There has been a lot of talk about if the Orioles should trade Givens, and I gotta say I think they might get a better return if they just wait. 2018 has not been that kind to him.
Anyway, the game. Givens came in to face J.D. Martinez, who had already homered in the 1st inning (and 30 times in the season so far). It did not go well. Martinez went yard to the opposite field, cutting the Orioles lead in half. Still, a two-run lead is kind of safe, right? Right??
So many times over the past five seasons, this is when we’d hear the familiar music from AC/DC as Zach Britton jogged onto the field. But not tonight. Tonight, Zach Britton stayed in the bullpen, his fate sealed. Instead it was Brad Brach, who has been...iffy this season. That iffiness continued tonight.
In fairness, the calamities at the beginning of this inning weren’t Brach’s fault. He got Jackie Bradley to hit a weak ground ball to the right side that was probably going to be an infield single either way. But Tim Beckham, hero at the plate earlier, totally botched things. He was playing on the right side due to the shift and instead of just holding the ball he glove flipped it right into the dugout. Oops. Bradley went to second on the error.
After Brock Holt grounded out to move Bradley to third, I could feel the win slipping away. Everyone watching could. Next, a ground ball to third in the pouring rain went for an infield hit as Nunez couldn’t get the ball out of his glove. Bradley came in to score and it was a one-run game. Brach then walked Swihart bringing up Betts. Noooo, not Betts!
On most nights, Betts dominates the Orioles. Heck, he already had two hits in the game including a home run. It seemed a foregone conclusion that Brach would blow it. That’s what the 2018 Oriole do, right?
Well, not this time. Betts hit a ball right to Schoop at second, who started a game-ending double play. And that’s how, on July 24th, the Orioles picked up their 29th win of the season.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Tuesday, July 24th?
This poll is closed
Tim Beckham (go-ahead home run, awesome 11-pitch at bat)
Jonathan Schoop (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
Yefry Ramirez (first major league win)
Zach Britton (Thanks for the last eight seasons. We salute you)