It would prove to be the first inning of the game that separated these two teams. Ty Blach started on the mound for the Orioles. Let’s be kind about it, he struggled.
The O’s lefty struck out the first batter of the game, but things went downhill from there. The next three Dodgers reached base as follows: David Freese single, Chris Taylor walk, Cody Bellinger RBI base hit. Not an ideal beginning, but not a killer either. Blach was just a ground-ball away from escaping the jam with minimal damage done.
Instead, what he got was a Corey Seager home run to right-center field that blew the game open before the home team Orioles even had a chance to bat.
Blach would stay on and eventually get out of the inning without surrendering any further runs. He even came back out for the second inning, which he made it through without allowing a run. And then he came back out for the third inning, but likely wishes that he hadn’t.
Once again, Seager saddled up to the plate. This time, there was only one runner on base (Kike Hernandez). But the result was the same as his previous at bat. The Dodgers shortstop smoked the first pitch he saw into the Camden Yards bleachers (left field this time) and extended his team’s lead by two runs.
That would be the knockout blow for Blach. His night ended after allowing six runs on 64 pitches, nine hits, one walk, three strikeouts and two home runs. His Orioles ERA is now up to 12.00.
The only other Los Angeles run of the evening came in the fifth inning against another left-handed pitcher, Tanner Scott. It came off the bat of Gavin Lux, a 21-year-old rookie who had been scuffling since being promoted last week. Some good old-fashioned Orioles pitching is just what the doctor ordered to snap that cold streak. The second baseman went 3-for-4 including a solo home run here, the first round-tripper of his big league career.
It should be said that, apart from that home run, the Orioles bullpen was actually quite good in this game. Evan Phillips, Branden Kline, Richard Bleier, Dillon Tate and Miguel Castro combined to toss 5.2 scoreless frames, striking out four, walking two and allowing three hits.
On the offensive side of things, there was almost nothing to mention about the Orioles through the game’s first seven innings. That is when Walker Buehler was pitching for the Dodgers, and he looked nearly untouchable. In those opening seven frames, the flame-throwing righty did not issue a walk and only gave up four hits while striking out 11. There is little doubt that he could have gone the distance, but the Dodgers have more important games ahead of them.
The only Los Angeles pitcher that the O’s could get to was 29-year-old Casey Sadler. He had some trouble in the eighth inning. DJ Stewart led off the frame with a home run into the O’s bullpen, his first MLB dong of the year. Then Chance Sisco worked a walk and Trey Mancini singled before both of them crossed the plate on a Renato Nunez single and throwing error by Dodgers outfielder A.J. Pollack.
The mini barrage of offensive firepower served as but a small respite in what was, overall, a dreadful showing from the O’s offense. Then again, it came against one of the best pitchers in the sport. Things like that happen. It’s baseball.
Mason Williams was the only Orioles hitter to reach base twice. He smacked two singles against Buehler. The entire lineup struck out 13 times and worked just one base on balls (Sisco). Hanser Alberto’s AL batting title hopes took a bit of a knock as he went just 1-for-4 at the plate. Austin Hays appeared as a pinch hitter and took an 0-for-1.
The O’s are stuck on 46 wins. This was their sixth straight loss. Perhaps they are destined to be worse than their 2018 peers. Or maybe they are just playing a bunch of teams that are substantially better than them? Either way it’s a bummer.
These two teams will play again on Wednesday. John Means (10-10, 3.50 ERA) is on the mound for the O’s. He will be opposed by Ross Stripling (4-4, 3.42 ERA). First pitch is at 7:05 from Camden Yards.