The Orioles and Athletics dodged rain drops at Camden Yards on Saturday evening. It was a “bullpen day” for the O’s as they sent six pitchers to the mound, but ultimately fell 7-2 to the visiting A’s.
It was the least surprising outcome of any Orioles game this season. Entering a game with Wade LeBlanc slated to start and asking the bullpen to cover more than seven innings is not a recipe for success.
To be fair to LeBlanc, he deserved a slightly better fate in this one. His first inning was rockier than it should have been thanks to a defensive fiasco from Rio Ruiz. First, the O’s second baseman took a circuitous route to a pop up, which ultimately fell in for a single. Then, he was gifted a perfect double play grounder, but flubbed the toss to Freddy Galvis covering the bag. Galvis made a tremendous play to force a fielder’s choice but was unable to make the turn. That miscue extended the inning and allowed the A’s to put their first run on the board.
Oly puts us on the ~board~ first ♂️#RiseAndGrind pic.twitter.com/nS5uAlHag6— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 24, 2021
LeBlanc returned to the mound in the second inning but wouldn’t make it through the frame. He issued a walked, served up a single, tossed a wild pitch and then allowed a single and double. He did manage to record two outs somewhere in there, but it couldn’t stop Tyler Wells from replacing him.
.@outtadapakmark can't be stopped pic.twitter.com/qJ1Rxxu1dF— Oakland A's (@Athletics) April 24, 2021
It was Wells’s first outing since April 11th as the Orioles have attempted to hide the Rule 5 pick. He did well to get out of LeBlanc’s jam in the second inning and then breezed through a 1-2-3 third inning, but it was the fourth where he had trouble. Before he could even record an out, Wells had allowed a trio of runs on a Jed Lowire dong that followed a single and hit by pitch ahead of him. Two outs and a single later, Wells was removed for Shawn Armstrong. But the damage was done.
The @Athletics are on their way to 13 straight. pic.twitter.com/frxS0r3HuM— MLB (@MLB) April 25, 2021
Unlike their opponents, the Orioles offense was unable to make the most of their chances. That was compounded by some bad luck.
The O’s looked to have a mini-rally brewing in the second inning. A run had already scored on a Chance Sisco double. Then, a Cedric Mullins walk gave them two runners on for Trey Mancini. Sounds promising, right? For a moment, it was even better. A’s pitcher Chris Bassitt uncorked a fastball past catcher Sean Murphy. Sisco broke for third. But the pitch bounced off the brick backstop directly back to Murphy, who collected the wayward offering and fired a perfect throw to Matt Chapman to nab Sisco and snuff out the home team’s half inning.
T̶r̶i̶c̶k̶ Brick shot. pic.twitter.com/ULMUHuwN6i— MLB (@MLB) April 25, 2021
The Birds had another shot at a big inning in the fifth, but once again came away with just a single run. Trey Mancini drove in a run with a one-out double, giving the O’s two base runners with one out and the middle of their order coming up. But a pair of fly outs to left field was all they could muster, and the opportunity went out with a whimper.
And that was all she wrote for the Orioles bats. They went down in order in four different innings and squandered the chances that they were given. For another night, the struggles of the O’s offense march on.
Let’s talk positives. There weren’t many, so this shouldn’t take long.
- Apart from LeBlanc and Wells, the rest of the Orioles pitchers were quite good. Shawn Armstrong, Adam Plutko, Dillion Tate, and Tanner Scott combined for 5.1 scoreless innings. Scott walked three, but got himself out of trouble.
- Hays and Sisco recorded two hits each. If the Orioles offense is going to rise from its current depths, they need Hays to be an impact bat, and Sisco personally needs his stick to improve if he is going to stay in the big leagues all season.
- This random member of the O’s grounds crew did his job efficiently and effectively. Salute!
best grounds crew in baseball pic.twitter.com/FEg1ZguyOx— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) April 25, 2021
There is no shame in losing to these Oakland Athletics. They are playing like the best team in baseball, and they just might be the best team in the American League. But it would still hurt to be swept at home for the second time in less than a month, so let’s avoid that if we can, guys.
These two teams wrap up the three-game set on Sunday afternoon at the Yard. It’s a matchup of lefties as the O’s turn to ace John Means (1-0, 1.52 ERA) on extra rest, and the A’s opt for Jesús Luzardo (1-1, 5.89 ERA). Means has been spectacular so far this year, and the Orioles really need to him to stop the bleeding for the club. At the same time, the Orioles bats need to show up for work. First pitch is 1:05 p.,m. ET.