Folks, what is up with these starting pitchers? If you were worried that veteran Kyle Gibson couldn’t keep up the string of strong games from starting pitchers, those worries evaporated by about the third inning. Between his masterful performance and one big inning from the offense, the Orioles were able to capture the series against the Tigers with a 5-1 win.
Another Dazzling Start
As well as Gibson finished today’s was about as poorly as he started. He struck out the first batter he faced but then things went south. Javier Baez singled and then stole second base. It was a messy play with no one covering second, though Gunnar Henderson did get there in time to keep the ball from sailing into the outfield. Gibson responded by walking the next two batters with most of the pitches not coming particularly close.
Things looked ready to fall apart in a hurry, but Gibson struck out Spencer Torkleson and got a lineout from Zach McKinstry to end the inning. The last play was a bit lucky; McKinstry smoked the ball at 107 mph but it went right to Anthony Santander in right field.
After that, though? Gibson was basically untouchable. He bounced back in the second by striking out the side and starting with the K of Torkelson in the first, he retired 11 in a row. And he wasn’t just good, he was dominant. He struck out 11 in the game, a career high. And he induced 18 swings and misses in his 6.1 innings.
Kyle Gibson, Dirty 81mph Sweeper...and Sword. ⚔️— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 23, 2023
11th K pic.twitter.com/PzeTC4E0st
Gibson’s string of outs ended when he walked Akil Badoo to start the fifth, but he struck out former Oriole Tyler Nevin and got two ground outs to get out of the inning. He probably only needed one groundout, but Henderson made a bad throw to first and couldn’t complete the double play.
He went into the seventh inning with a shutout, just like the previous three Orioles’ starting pitchers. Unfortunately, he didn’t come out of it that way. The first batter, Torkelson, gave the ball a ride but Cedric Mullins made a nice catch in the left-center gap for the out. The next, McKinstry, hit the ball over the centerfield fence.
That was the end of the scoreless starters’ streak and the end of the night for Gibson. But it was a heck of a night even with the run. Gibson’s final pitching line was 6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 11 K. His ERA dropped from 4.18 to 3.60.
It’s been a great run of starting pitching, we’ll see if Grayson Rodriguez can keep it up tomorrow.
Putting up a Crooked Number
While the pitching has been putting on a show as of late, the offense has quieted down a bit. I hadn’t reached a point of being worried, but it sure was nice to get a big inning out of the way early so we could relax and enjoy the game.
Gunnar Henderson got the rally started as the leadoff batter in the third inning. He lined a single to center and then moved to second on the only kind of balk I can recognize. Tigers’ starter Joey Wentz started his pitching motion and then just, stopped. Henderson then moved up a wild pitch, putting him in place to score the first run on a broken-bat single from Adley Rutschman.
It didn’t feel at that point like it would be a big inning, but Mountcastle singled back up the middle and Santander worked a great walk to load the bases. That brought Ramón Urías to the plate, and he did not let us down.
don’t text, watching this on repeat for the rest of the night pic.twitter.com/8oGhKrUtlo— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 23, 2023
He didn’t get the grand slam, but it was about as close as it could have been. The double cleared the bases and gave the Orioles a 4-0 lead.
That lead was stretched to 5-0 in the very next inning courtesy of James McCann’s first home run as an Oriole. Just like the Austin Hays home run yesterday, it landed in the Orioles’ bullpen. Unlike yesterday, relief pitcher Cionel Pérez caught the home run in his hat. He had tried but failed yesterday. So great job, buddy!
The offense was quiet after that, though there was some drama when Urías was called out on strikes to end the fifth. Urías did not agree with the calls and made a few comments as he tossed his helmet and shin guard aside. Umpire Vic Carapazza overreacted and threw Urías out of the game while his back was turned. Terrin Vavra replaced him at third base and thankfully it didn’t come back to haunt the Orioles.
And for those who have been weirdly worried about Rutschman, he reached base three times tonight.
Best Bullpen in the Biz?
Some of the big guns in the bullpen got a rest tonight, but we did get to see everyone’s new favorite reliever, Yennier Cano. Cano relieved Gibson in the seventh inning and pitched 1.2 perfect innings with three strikeouts. He has yet to allow a hit this season.
Danny Coulombe finished things up with a relatively easy ninth inning, working around a two-out walk to close things out.
O’s win, 5-1! They’re back in action tomorrow at 1:35 and looking for the sweep in the battle of the Rodriguez boys.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for April 22nd?
This poll is closed
Ramón Urías (3-run double)
James McCann (first home run as an O)
Kyle Gibson (6.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 11 K)