Tonight’s game between the Tigers and Orioles wasn’t exactly a can’t-miss match up. If you watch the baseball highlights show tomorrow, this game will surely be the last game they talk about. Going into tonight the two teams had lost a combined total of 201 games this year. That is a lot of bad baseball.
And yet, one of these teams had to prevail tonight, and I am glad it was the Orioles. There is a lot of talk about the race for the first overall draft pick, but I am here to watch my team try to win. And win they did! Their pitching and hitting were both better than the Tigers tonight, leading to a 6-2 win. That may not be saying much, but I don’t care. The Orioles won!
The pitching match up tonight was Jordan Zimmermann vs Aaron Brooks. To keep up with the ongoing theme of two terrible teams, both starting pitchers came into the game with an ERA over 6.00. That’s ugly. While Zimmermann lived up to that high ERA, Brooks managed to hold his own. And that was the difference in the game.
The Orioles wasted no time getting to Zimmermann. Jonathan Villar had a lead off single in the first inning and promptly stole second base. A productive ground out from Mason Williams moved Villar to third and he came in to score on a single from Trey Mancini.
After that it felt like the Orioles are going to let the 6+ ERA off the hook. Zimmermann put up three straight scoreless innings and just as I was thinking, “Am I seriously watching a pitchers’ duel between these two guys?” the Orioles struck again.
With Stevie Wilkerson on via a double, D.J. Stewart lined a ball down the right field line. Would it stay fair? Yes! The ball clanged off of the foul pole for a two-run homer. The next two batters also knocked Zimmermann around as Chance Sisco singled and Villar doubled. An RBI ground out from Williams made the score 4-0.
That’s right, Aaron Brooks didn’t allow a run through the first five innings of the game. He worked around some trouble, for sure, including two walks in the first inning. And in the fourth, he benefited from a bad send by the Tigers’ third base coach and a head’s up play from Wilkerson.
With Jordy Mercer on base with a double, Travis Demeritte hit a ground ball to the right side. First baseman Mancini got a glove on the ball and it trickled into short right field. Wilkerson chased it down as Mercer raced for home. It wasn’t a good idea, however, and Wilkerson threw him out by a mile.
The Tigers finally broke through against Brooks in the sixth inning. The first batter Brooks faced, Christin Stewart, lined a double to right field. Two batters later, Stewart came in to score on a single from Mercer. That was the end of the night for Brooks, although relief pitcher Shawn Armstrong allowed Mercer to score. The run was charged to Brooks, whose final pitching line was 5.1 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 0 K. Not a brilliant stat line, but good enough to pick up the win.
Trey Mancini was not satisfied with his team only leading 4-2, so in the seventh inning he did something about it. After Mason Williams walked, Mancini hit a line drive that got out of the park in a hurry, just clearing the fence in center field. I agree with Trey, a 6-2 lead is much better. The dinger was his 31st of the season, which is nuts.
The bullpen did its job over the final innings of the game, giving up no runs. That included Paul Fry, who pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning with two strikeouts. I single him out because Fry is from Michigan, and after his inning the MASN cameras found the proud Mama and Papa Fry, who had come to the game to see their son. Good job, Fry family!
Mychal Givens gave us a bit of scare in the ninth inning when he allowed a single and a walk with two outs, but Miguel Cabrera grounded out to end the game and all was well. Orioles win, 6-2.
Who is the Most Birdland Player for Friday, September 13th?
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Trey Mancini (RBI single, two-run HR)
Stevie Wilkerson (single, double, threw a guy out at the plate)
Paul Fry (1-2-3 inning in front of his parents)