Whew! My dear citizens of Birdland, that was a wild game. For six innings it felt like one of those games the Orioles had no hope of winning. The starting pitching was bad, the offense was pretty much non-existent, and the defense was spotty. Tigers’ starter Joey Wentz stymied the Orioles. He made them look silly.
There are some games you just lose without fanfare, without drama. This was one of those games. Until it wasn’t.
The two-run deficit going into the seventh inning felt like more. But with Wentz out of the game, the offense bloomed. They put up five runs in the inning, knocking poor Chasen Shreve around almost as soon as he came into the game. The topper of the inning was a rocket of a home run from Anthony Santander, which made the score 7-4. All the bullpen had to do was hold the lead for three innings and the Orioles would have another win.
And the bullpen did it. It was ugly and a touch worrisome, but they did it. The Orioles currently sit at 17-8, a pace of 110 wins. Let’s get into the details.
When Kyle Gibson faced the Tigers six days ago, he was dominant. Tonight? Not so much. He struggled with his pitches throughout his outing and was never able to get a handle on things. On top of that, his defense didn’t do him any favors.
After a laborious but no-run first inning, Gibson wasn’t as lucky in the second. A solid single by Eric Haase to lead off the inning, Miguel Cabrera hit a ball to Ramón Urías at third base. Urías, for some reason, made the most leisurely throw to second base. Haase beat it, and rookie Joey Ortiz’s throw to first to get Miguel Cabrera would have been close, but Ryan Mountcastle didn’t catch the ball.
So what might have been a double play and what certainly should have been a sure out was instead runners on first and second with no outs.
Gibson then threw a wild pitch to move the runners up and walked Akil Baddoo to load the bases. Jonathan Schoop did his former team the courtesy of hitting into a double play. A run scored but it was worth the tradeoff, and Gibson induced a pop-out for the final out of the game.
He got two quick outs to start the third inning and I thought he’d maybe figured something out. He hadn’t. He walked the third batter, Nick Maton, who moved to third base on a Kerry Carpenter double. Both runs came in to score on a single from Haase.
After pitching into the seventh inning in his last start, Gibson could not get out of the fifth. He started it with two singles sandwiched around a Maton strikeout. At that point he was pulled for Mike Baumann, who made quick work to get the final two outs of the inning. Gibson’s final line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K. He threw 102 pitches, 64 for strikes.
So yes, it was a rough go for Gibson. But given his major league history, we have to expect them every now and again. What frustrated me, even more, was the lack of hitting early on. Against Joey Wentz, a pitcher who came into the game with a 7.56 ERA, the Orioles just flailed. They handled him easily last week but tonight, not so much.
Through the first fifteen batters of the game, the Orioles had just two baserunners and they were both Jorge Mateo. Mateo singled in the second and again in the fifth. He was stranded in the second, but in the fifth, he kicked off a little rally. Adam Frazier followed with a walk, and then the two pulled off a double steal that didn’t even draw a throw.
That set the stage for the rookie, Ortiz, and he came through! On a 2-2 count, Ortiz chopped a ball to the right side, It bounced over the head of Spencer Torkelson at first base and into right field! Both runs scored to make it a 3-2 game. Well done, Ortiz!
For reasons I can’t understand, Brandon Hyde turned to Cionel Pérez for the sixth inning. I am a huge Cionel fan but he just looks so bad this year. Bringing him into a one-run game where the Orioles finally started to make some headway just didn’t sit well with me. And it didn’t go well in the end.
Pérez loaded the bases on an HBP and two walks, although he did strike out Schoop for one out. He just looks lost out there. Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate are on their way back and while it would be heartbreaking for the Orioles to cut ties with Pérez, it’s clear that right now he is the weak link.
Bryan Baker relieved Pérez with the bases loaded and one out, and he almost got out of it. Torkelson flew out to shallow left, but then Baker lost the strike zone and walked a run in on just four pitches. Baker! He did get the last out, but things were feeling dire going into the seventh. At least, they felt dire until Chasen Shreve came in to pitch for the Tigers.
This is where it gets good. Adam Frazier legged out a single on a ball that Schoop couldn’t quite corral at second base. Ryan McKenna launched a double to put runners at second and third. Once again, Joey Ortiz stepped to the plate with the chance to make a difference. And he did! Ortiz got a fly ball to the outfield and Frazier tagged up to score and make it a one-run game. Not a bad day for the rookie!
The Orioles weren’t finished. Cedric Mullins lashed a triple to right field that knocked in McKenna, then Mullins came in as the go-ahead run on a sac fly off the bat of Adley Rutschman.
Ryan Mountcastle, who had a home run stolen from him by Kerry Carpenter earlier in the game, extended the inning with a walk.
Anthony Santander has been down on his luck this year, coming into the game with a horrendous batting line and just one home run on the season. You wouldn’t know that from the laser he launched into the left-field seats. That ball got out in a hurry and gave the Orioles a 7-4 lead. Quite the comeback!
After a long layoff in the dugout, Baker was back out for the seventh inning. He walked one but got through the inning easily. Keegan Akin came on for the eighth and issued a two-out walk, but otherwise looked good. It really was a walkapalooza for the Orioles tonight.
I thought they might just leave Akin in to close it out, but Hyde turned to Félix Bautista. Bautista was looking for his sixth save and he got it, but it was ugly. He joined the walkapalooza in a big way. He started the inning with walks to Tyler Nevin and Haase and many of the pitches were not even close.
Miguel Cabrera couldn’t catch up to Bautista’s fastball and struck out, but Bautista then walked Matt Vierling to load the bases and bring the winning run to the plate. Talk about stressful! Poor Schoop came to the plate then, and he was no match for Bautista. He struck out, as did Jake Rogers to end the game.
Félix got out of it! Now how about giving the big guy a few days off, huh?
Orioles win, 7-4! They’re back in action tomorrow at 6:40 for a re-match of the Rodriguez Bowl, Grayson vs Eduardo.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for 4/27?
This poll is closed
Joey Ortiz (major league debut, 1-for-3, 3 RBI)
Anthony Santander (bullet home run)
Mike Baumann (0.2 perfect innings, only pitcher not to walk a batter)