The Orioles and Rays played a long game tonight that was by turns both exciting and frustrating. There were great hits and defensive misses. There was ok pitching and horrible pitching. Andrew Cashner pitched decently and finally got his first win at Camden Yards. Adam Jones and Jonathan Schoop both homered and looked great at the plate.
There was definitely a little bit of everything in this 15-5 win by the Orioles.
Andrew Cashner is not a complete disaster
Before the season, if I had to pick who I thought the best starting pitcher for the Orioles would be, I hope you’ll forgive me for not saying Andrew Cashner. But he has quietly been very steady for this team in a year when everything else has gone wrong. He hasn’t been outstanding, but nobody expected him to be. He’s been about as good Andrew Cashner can be. And that’s valuable.
Tonight was more of the same from Cashner: a solid if unspectacular start. He had a rough first inning, giving up one run while throwing 25 pitches, leading one to think it might be the start of a terrible night for the starting pitcher. But he pulled himself together and put up a string of zeroes in the following innings.
The Rays weren’t short on base runners but they weren’t able to string anything together. Cashner hit Mallex Smith in the second inning but he got himself picked off. Kevin Kiermaier singled in the third but was erased on a double play. The Rays wasted a walk in the fourth and another single in the fifth. Cashner was scattering base runners all over the place but nothing came of it.
Then came the sixth inning and what seemed surely like it would be when the Orioles blew the game. But they didn’t! Cashner loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and walk. It was the first time since the first inning that the Rays had more than one base runner in an inning.
The fourth batter of the inning hit a fly ball to medium depth in right field. Joey Wendle, the Ray on third base, tagged up and raced for home. Right fielder Joey Rickard unleashed what was just a terrible throw towards home. Caleb Joseph had to race up the line to catch the ball, which just happened to put him in perfect position to throw out Ji-Man Choi, who was trying to tag up and go to second base.
With two outs, Cashner got an easy fly ball to center field from Mallex Smith for the third out and just like that the Orioles got out of the inning with not much damage at all.
Cashner’s final line tonight was 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 2 K. Nobody’s going to swoon over that, but you know what? It got the job done. Thank you, Andrew Cashner, for not being a complete and utter disaster.
The Orioles have an offense (or the Rays are just bad)
The Orioles scored 15 runs today! Who knew that was even possible? Actually, 15 runs is just the second most they have scored in a game this year. They scored 17 against these very Rays back on Mother’s Day. You know when this team scores 15 runs that there are going to be some shenanigans. And there were.
They got on the board in the very first inning. With Tim Beckham on third base with one out, the Rays pulled the infield in with Adam Jones at the plate. In the first inning! It didn’t work. Jones singled through the infielders, knocking in Beckham.
Two more runs scored in the fourth inning, thanks in part to some bad defense by the Rays. There was plenty of bad defense by both teams in this game but if I tried to run down all of it this story would probably end up about 10 pages long. Nobody wants that. But just trust me when I say that there were plenty of little league moments.
So, the fourth. With Jones on second (single) and Chris Davis on first (walk), Danny Valencia hit a ball the opposite way to right field. Jones scored easily but it looked like Davis would end up at second. That’s before Carlos Gomez airmailed a throw from right field that sailed over everyone and into the Rays’ dugout. The umpires awarded Davis home and Valencia second and it was upheld on a challenge by manager Kevin Cash.
A solo home run by Jonathan Schoop in the fifth gave the Orioles their fourth run of the game, but let’s jump ahead to the seventh. That’s where the fireworks really start.
The Rays picked up a run in the top of the seventh inning to make it a one-run game, a run that was pretty much only scored because of that little league defense I mentioned earlier. But there’s no time to go into that because I still have to talk about the position player pitching shenanigans!
Chris Archer completed six respectable innings for the Rays and as soon as he came out, all hell broke loose. Austin Pruitt came on in relief and it was bad. Really bad. Caleb Joseph reached on a throwing error, followed by singles from Tim Beckham and Schoop. Schoop’s hit knocked in Joseph, then Schoop rode home on a three-run homer from Adam Jones.
That made the score 8-3, a comfortable lead even for the Orioles. But they weren’t done! Mark Trumbo walked and Pruitt finally got some sweet relief with a Chris Davis plate appearance. He flew out. The hit parade continued after that. Valencia singled. Trey Mancini singled. Rickard hit a 3-RBI double. Five batters after Rickard’s double, the inning mercifully came to an end with the Orioles leading 12-3.
Position players pitching: Not always fun
Down by eight runs, Kevin Cash decided it would be a good idea to bring in Carlos Gomez to pitch. It was not. I am usually a fan of position players pitching because it’s kind of a hoot, and we get to see their teammates on the bench having a good laugh. But tonight was just painful. It was pretty clear that Gomez just had no idea what he was doing out there.
Gomez faced five batters and four of them walked. He was called for two balks but definitely had more. Because of the rain delay it was after 11 p.m. and it was just painful. He was replaced after his fourth walk by Jesus Sucre, who just came out from the dugout and warmed up on the mound.
Sucre could at least throw the ball over the plate and gave up just one hit before getting a ground out from Beckham and a pop up from Schoop. Schoop admitted in his postgame interview that he was just trying to go deep.
The Rays scored two runs in the ninth because Jhan Marinez is terrible and shouldn’t be on the team, but ultimately he got the third out and the game ended with a score of 15-5.
These two teams will be back in action tomorrow and I’m willing to bet the Orioles score zero runs.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for Friday, July 27th?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Schoop (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
Adam Jones (3-for-4, HR, 4 RBI)
Andrew Cashner (6 IP, 2 R, first Camden Yards win)