What is there even to say about tonight’s game? It was just flat out awful. The Orioles looked lifeless at the plate and in the field. The pitching, “led” by Tyler Wells and D.L. Hall, waffled between inept and unlucky. In the end, the only minor victory is that the that Orioles managed to avoid being the victims of a no-hitter. Instead, they were part of a two-hitter and an 11-0 loss. It was a total team failure.
If you thought yesterday’s comeback was the start of the Orioles getting their mojo back, you were wrong. It’s ok. I also wanted to believe. But more and more it looks like this team is toast.
Let’s start with Detroit’s starting pitcher. Lefty Tyler Alexander has split time this year between the Tigers’ rotation and their bullpen and as a starter he has been abysmal. Since moving back into the rotation at the end of June he has a 6.34 ERA/5.70 FIP. He’s really bad. So naturally tonight he completely dominated the Orioles.
The first 11 Orioles to come to the plate tonight failed to reach base. There were a couple loud outs. Gunnar Henderson hit a ball 406 feet to center field that was caught at the wall, and Ramón Urías smoked a ball in the third inning that Javier Báez managed to snag a shortstop. Other than that, though, it was mostly weak contact.
The 12th Oriole to bat was Ryan Mountcastle, and he drew a walk to end the perfect game. It was actually a pretty good game for Mounty, who went on to reach base three times. Austin Hays walked in the sixth inning, but Alexander got through all six innings with no hits allowed.
Thankfully that changed in the seventh, at least for the sake of history and a little bit of pride. Mountcastle and Anthony Santander greeted Alexander with back-to-back singles to break up the no-no. Unfortunately, two runners on with no outs did not result in any Oriole runs. Jesús Aguilar struck out and Henderson hit into a double play to end the inning.
Those two hits were all that the Orioles would muster.
On pitching and defense, the disappointment started before anyone realized the Orioles were going to be no-hit through six innings. In the top of the first, starter Tyler Wells gave up a two-out single to Báez, then Miguel Cabrera hit a high fly ball to left-center field. Austin Hays raced over from left and looked like he get to the ball in time. Then he kind of slowed up and looked over at Cedric Mullins, like he expected Mullins would take it.
Mullins, however, wasn’t close. And by the time Hays started running again, it was too late. Cabrera was safe at first and Baez had raced home with what would turn out to be the only run the Tigers needed. It was only one play, but now that the game is over it feels like a microcosm of the entire game.
Wells bounced back nicely in the next few innings but it was in the fourth inning that it all went to hell. It was one of those innings that just wouldn’t end. Two hits and a walk loaded the bases with no outs, prompting a mound visit by the Orioles’ pitching coach to try and calm Wells down. It did not work as he walked the very next better to force in a run. Tyler, no!
This is where I tell you that not a single batter in the Tigers’ lineup has an OPS of 100 or more. That means every one of them is below average. Ok, back to the action.
D.L. Hall replaced Wells and immediately struck out Tucker Barnhardt. For a brief moment I thought Hall might dial it up and get his team out of the inning. That was foolish of me and I had barely finished forming the thought in my brain before Hall uncorked a wild pitch to bring in another run.
A bloop single from Akil Badoo knocked in two more runs, then Badoo came in to score on a double from Riley Greene. Come on, D.L.! I admit, my feelings on Hall’s future as an Oriole aren’t very positive. He did get two ground outs to end the inning with further damage. Five runs in one inning is plenty of damage.
After pitching a scoreless fifth inning, Jake Reed started the sixth inning by hitting a batter and being pulled from the game. Replacement Keegan Akin was unable to keep the score where it was. A single by Barnhardt set the table for Riley to hit yet another double. It scored both runners to give the Tigers an 8-0 lead. If you were watching this game and saying aloud, “Whyyyyyyy?” please know you weren’t the only one.
Big Mike Baumann came on to pitch the seventh inning and didn’t want to be left out of the fun. After surrendering a double to Spencer Torkleson, Ryan Kriedler hit a weak single to the right side with two outs. The problem with that is that the Orioles had the shift on and there was no one over there to make the play. Stupid shift! Someone should ban that. Torkelson came in to score what was the ninth run of the game.
Ryan McKenna came into pitch the ninth inning, so we at least got to see that? He gave up two runs of his own to give the Tigers a final score of 11-0.
Just awful. Orioles, what were you doing tonight? Whatever it was, please don’t do it again tomorrow.