The last time I checked, the city of Toronto did not have a football team. On the first Sunday of the NFL season, the Blue Jays posted numbers that would have won several of today’s games on the gridiron. Toronto embarrassed the Orioles, 22-7, to secure a series victory at Camden Yards.
If the Orioles 19-game losing streak earlier this season taught fans anything, it’s that they can handle the losing. They just want to avoid embarrassment on the national scale. The NFL will be the show on ESPN today, but the Birds blowout will be a difficult footnote for supporters to swallow.
Baltimore bounced back from the losing streak by playing .500 ball over their next 16 games, but yesterday’s doubleheader and today’s blowout marked a dark weekend for the home team.
The Orioles sent rookie Zac Lowther to the mound against a tough Toronto lineup. Lowther dazzled in his last start against the Royals— he allowed just three hits in six innings—but failed to replicate the outing today.
Lowther allowed a lead off single, walked the next two batters, and plunked Teoscar Hernandez to allow the first run of the game. Lourdes Gurriel followed with a grand slam, and the Blue Jays led by five before Lowther even recorded an out.
Brandon Hyde yanked Lowther after a leadoff walk in the third. The rookie’s final line read 2+ innings, 4 hits, 7 runs, 3 walks, 2 home runs and 4 strikeouts. Hyde called on fellow rookie Spenser Watkins to limit the damage. He did not.
Watkins does not possess the same pedigree as Lowther, but the Orioles are still hoping for an indication that he can contribute next season. Watkins did not provide that indication today.
The 29-year-old allowed seven runs (all earned) in just one-third of an inning. He allowed two homers, walked one, and did not strike out a batter.
The Blue Jays ended up posting a 10-spot in the third
quarter inning. Danny Jansen and Breyvic Valera both drove in runs with base hits, and Jake Lamb followed with a solo homer to make it 10-3.
Toronto loaded the bases once again, and Hernandez blasted the Jays’ second grand slam of the afternoon. Valera hit two RBI-doubles in the same inning, and the Orioles summoned Mike Baumann to finally end the inning.
Baumann, the third rookie pitcher of the day, allowed six runs over three innings. He still figures to hold the highest potential of the three, but today was not the day for anyone to prove their worth.
Eric Hanhold, the 59th player to appear for the Orioles this season, allowed two runs in 1.2 innings. Conner Greene and Fernando Abad broke the mold and tossed scoreless innings to end the game.
Jansen led the charge for Toronto with four hits. Gurriel led the team with 7 RBIs, and Hernandez tallied five. The grand slams help. Every Blue Jays starter recorded at least one hit.
The Orioles did manage to score 7 runs in the game. Ryan Mountcastle tied Cal Ripken Jr. for the team rookie record with 28 home runs on the season. Mountcastle and Austin Wynns were the only Baltimore players to record multiple hits. Wynns and Anthony Santander also went deep in the contest.
Twenty two points would have been enough to beat the Colts, Jaguars, Falcons, Bills, Jets, Titans, and Washington during the 1 p.m. slate today. Baltimore eventually punted and sent out a guy that had not pitched in the big leagues since 2018. Good for Hanhold, I guess.
Baltimore gets a much needed day off before taking on the Yankees on Tuesday. Today’s loss only counts as one, but the O’s appear positioned for a quality run at the number one pick down the stretch.