The Orioles have a winning season! They won their 82nd game of the year on Sunday afternoon, 30 more than they had all of last season with three still to play. It was a frustrating game that could have easily turned into a dumb loss, with the O’s going 1-12 when batting with runners in scoring position and starting pitcher Kyle Bradish issuing five walks. It didn’t matter. Orioles pitchers did enough to get the team into the win column.
Oh yeah, and Aaron Judge? He’s still waiting to pull himself into sole possession of seventh place on the single season home run leaderboard. If any pitcher is to give up #62 in the 2022 season, it will not be an Oriole, and the feat will not occur at Yankee Stadium. New York is headed to Texas for its final series of the year.
There was a cacophony of whining voices of Yankees fans and friendly media after Saturday’s game, suggesting that the Orioles were disrespecting the game or some such by not giving Judge enough strikes to hit. There’s not much for them to complain about from Sunday’s game, not that observable reality would ever stop them from whining. Judge struck out against Bradish to lead off the game, struck out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning, and struck out against Bryan Baker in the seventh inning.
In all, Judge struck out six times in the three game series. His batting average is down to .311 after the 0-3 today, leaving him .004 behind Minnesota’s Luis Arraez for that prong of the Triple Crown. Arraez did not play on Sunday. Too bad, so sad. The Yankees as a team only had four hits in the game and struck out 11 times.
This could have ended up being a sad, stupid game by the Orioles. We’ve seen a number of them since Labor Day. I can’t stress that enough. They had the good fortune of going up against a starting pitcher, Chi Chi Gonzalez, who’s already been dumped by three teams this season and who was signed to a contract by the Yankees literally today. They ought to have feasted! Did they? No.
The Orioles got on the board in the top of the first. With one out, Adley Rutschman singled. He strolled another 90 feet as Gonzalez walked Anthony Santander on four pitches. Cleanup hitter Ryan Mountcastle did a little cleaning up, smoking a line drive double that scored Rutschman. However, the O’s did not get any more runs out of that second and third, one out situation. Gunnar Henderson and Austin Hays each struck out. At least the 1-0 lead was better than nothing.
That’s where things stayed for a while, not for lack of trying by both teams. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the second and didn’t score, with Bradish buckling down to strike out Aarons Hicks and Judge. Rutschman doubled with one out in the third and the Orioles didn’t score. Kyle Stowers doubled to lead off the fifth and the Orioles again didn’t score. It wasn’t great. It could have been worse.
The lone Yankees run of the game crossed in the fifth inning. This could have been worse, too. Bradish walked Judge and Hicks to put two men on with no one out. Bradish got a first out on an easy liner to left, then spiked a pitch in the dirt that Rutschman could not sufficiently block. The Aarons advanced, with Rutschman making an ill-advised throw to try to get Judge out at second base. The throw tailed and ended up in center field.
Hicks scored on the error. The game was tied. Bradish once again buckled down and got the outs he needed to get, retiring the next two batters on ground balls. It wasn’t a great day for the rookie starter, with three hits and five walks in five-plus innings, but his number in the earned run column was zero and that’s worth something.
Bradish did not figure in the game’s decision. The Orioles did not score again until the seventh inning, when fallen closer Aroldis Chapman was sent into the tie game to try to keep it that way. It just did not work out like that for him. His first batter, Mullins, reached on an infield single that Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson tried and failed to make the bare-hand play on.
Chapman, who’d walked 25 batters in 35 innings before today, showed more of that lack of command, walking both Rutschman and Santander to load the bases with no one out. The last month or so of Orioles baseball has almost primed us to expect not to score in these situations.
Mountcastle was punched out (on a pitch that wasn’t in the strike zone) for the first out of the inning, bringing up the rookie Henderson, who surely didn’t see many guys like Chapman in Bowie or Norfolk this year. No problem. He coolly worked a full count and made no attempt to swing at ball four - which the erratic ump, thankfully, did not again erroneously call as a strike.
Having failed at his job, Chapman got the hook in favor of Ron Marinaccio, who you might have never heard of but who brought a 2.09 ERA in 43 innings into this game. Marinaccio’s first batter, Hays, hit a sacrifice fly to center field that easily scored Rutschman, bringing home the third and final Orioles run.
After Bradish came out of the game, the Orioles bullpen kept the Yankees off the board the rest of the way. The only close call was in the sixth inning. Bradish walked the inning’s leadoff batter, Oswaldo Cabrera, finally ending his day at 99 pitches after his fifth walk. Reliever Logan Gillaspie handed out a one-out single to Isiah Kiner-Falefa, then after a wild pitch, there were men on second and third with only one out.
The Orioles, looking to preserve what was then a tie, pulled the infield in. Catcher Jose Trevino hit a line drive right at second baseman Terrin Vavra, who doubled off the runner at third base, Harrison Bader. Why Bader was so far off of third base to get doubled off is not something I know, but I am glad for his brain fart.
As far as intrigue in the game, that was it. A clearly fired-up Bryan Baker struck out the side in the seventh, including Judge, then added two more strikeouts while rolling through the eighth as well. Dillon Tate sent the Yankees down in order in the ninth to close out the game and pick up his fifth save of the year. Had two Yankees batters gotten on base between the eighth and ninth innings, Judge would have batted again in the ninth. They didn’t. The cold and wet Yankee fans went home unfulfilled.
Winning season in the bag, the Orioles head back to Baltimore for the final series of the year. Notching any of wins 83, 84, or 85 would be fun also. They’ll face the Blue Jays, whose exact wild card seed is not yet determined, starting on Monday at 7:05. Dean Kremer and Jose Berríos are the scheduled starting pitchers. The Orioles are still listing TBD for Wednesday. Maybe that will end up being Grayson Rodriguez.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for October 2, 2022?
This poll is closed
Adley Rutschman (on base four times, scored two runs)
Bryan Baker (five strikeouts in six batters)
Gunnar Henderson (bases loaded walk drove in game-deciding run)