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Orioles can’t overcome Wojciechowski’s first inning, lose 8-4 to Nationals

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The Orioles fell behind in the first inning tonight and that was that.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Almost nobody expected the Orioles to win a game against the Nationals when Max Scherzer is the starting pitcher. And just like almost everyone expected, the Orioles lost. But really, Scherzer didn’t have that much to do with it. He didn’t even qualify for the win. The Orioles still lost the game, 8-4.

As the game was starting, MASN showed a graphic noting that over the Orioles’ last three games, the starter had picked up a win. And the last time the O’s starter picked up the win in four straight games was back in that wonderful 2014 season.

Any idea that the Orioles might extend that streak in 2019 was put to bed very quickly in the bottom of the first inning. Asher Wojciechowski struck out the first batter he faced and then proceeded to allow the next six base runners to reach, resulting in five runs. Here is the order of events:

  • Adam Eaton hit-by-pitch
  • Anthony Rendon double
  • Juan Soto triple
  • Asdrubal Cabrera single
  • Kurt Suzuki home run
  • Brian Dozier single

Not the best way to start a game! It’s worth noting that the Soto triple to Anthony Santander was pretty ugly, with Santander getting twisted around and making an ill-timed jump on the ball at the wall. Don’t get me wrong, the ball was smoked. It was off the bat at 104 mph and had an expected batting average of .910. But the defense wasn’t pretty and probably didn’t need to be a triple.

The Orioles got on the board in the third inning with a two-out RBI double from Santander. Trey Mancini followed with a walk, but Scherzer made mincemeat out of D.J. Stewart on a nasty strikeout.

In the fifth inning, an unlikely rally started to brew. Chance Sisco started the inning with his seventh home run of the year, making the score 5-2. After pinch hitter Stevie Wilkerson (because this is the National League) grounded out, Jonathan Villar and Santander singled to bring the tying run to the plate. And that, weirdly, knocked Scherzer out of the game. Who would have guessed he wouldn’t make it out of the fifth?

New pitcher Wander Suero came in to face Mancini. Mancini absolutely smashed a ball to the third base side, but Anthony Rendon managed to not only stop it, but also turn it into a double play. Because we can’t have nice things, the Nationals got out of the inning without allowing any more runs.

A note on Scherzer’s game. Despite pitching only 4.1 innings, he still racked up eight strikeouts, giving him 200 on the year. This is the eighth straight season he has gotten at least 200 strikeouts. Only Tom Seaver has a longer streak, with 200 in nine straight seasons. I expect Scherzer will tie him next year.

Anyway, I’ll shut up about Max Scherzer. This isn’t Federal Baseball, after all. Back to the Orioles.

After completing four innings, Wojciechowski was pulled from the game. After his terrible first inning in which nine Nationals game to the plate, he faced only 10 in the next three innings combined. He probably would have gone back out for the fifth inning but the National League is dumb and therefore he was pinch hit for in the top of the fifth.

There are few solid bets in the Orioles’ bullpen, and Richard Bleier is certainly not one of them. Bleier faced five batters, retired one of them, and gave up three runs to make the game feel completely out of reach at 8-2. Bleier reacted to his terrible pitching by throwing a temper tantrum in the dugout, seemingly over the defensive alignment behind him. Not a great look.

For the top of the sixth inning, we momentarily traveled back in time to 2013. Stewart reached base via walk, and then with two outs the Nats’ pitcher missed his spot and Chris Davis made him pay. He hit an absolute bomb to right field for his 10th home run of the year.

The ball sailed into the second deck of the ballpark at 104 mph. It was the kind of easy-swinging monster home run that we used to see from him regularly, and cut the lead to 8-4. Unfortunately that was the last run the Orioles would score, which wasn’t even enough to cover the five-spot they surrendered in the first inning.

The action ended after the Bleier meltdown and the Davis home run. Dillon Tate, Gabriel Ynoa, and Tayler Scott pitched the final 3.2 innings without incident. Tate looked especially sharp, retiring five of the six batters he faced.

And Scott, who has had his troubles (to put it lightly), started off rough but bounced back to pitch a scoreless inning. That had to feel good for him.

Orioles lose, 8-4. If you watched this entire game you probably feel a little bummed. But at least you’re not this guy: