Can the Orioles play the Tigers every week? They beat them again on Sunday afternoon, a 5-3 decision that never really felt in doubt despite the close scoreline.
Tigers starter Spencer Turnbulll hardly stood a chance. The Orioles offense had him under pressure from the jump. The only inning in which the O’s didn’t score on the righty was the first, when they had a runner in scoring position with one out but couldn’t get him all the way home.
That wasn’t a problem in the second. Austin Hays opened up with a walk, moved to second on an error from second baseman Zach McKinstry, and eventually came around to score when Ryan O’Hearn singled up the middle.
Another run came in the third. Adley Rutschman and Ryan Mountcastle started the frame with back-to-back doubles. That represented Mountcastle’s first RBI in two weeks, an oddity considering his prominent role in the offense. It seemed like a crooked number was incoming. But strikeouts of Kyle Stowers and Gunnar Henderson plus a Hays groundout ended the threat after just the one run.
Adam Frazier contributed in the fourth. The second baseman smacked his third long ball of the season, this one of the solo variety, to make it 3-0.
Turnbull was pulled to begin the fifth inning, but the Orioles’ habit of scoring one run an inning continued. Mountcastle got things going with a double, scooted to third on a ground out from Stowers, and slid home on a Hays sac fly to right field. Another run manufactured by the Baltimore bats.
That was all of the scoring for the good guys until some time later.
Meanwhile, Kyle Bradish bounced back nicely from what was a rather dreadful start against Boston last week. In his first trip through the Detroit order, the righty allowed just one baserunner, a double in the second inning, and notched three strikeouts. It was when the Tiger hitters got a second look at him that things started to unravel a bit.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Matt Vierling singled ahead of Jake Rogers, who then launched his third home run of the season. Then the top of the lineup reemerged for a third time and sent Bradish packing. Riley Greene singled, Javier Báez doubled him home, and Spencer Torkelson was bonked. Brandon Hyde pointed to the bullpen, and Bradish’s day was done. Cionel Pérez was the move, and he got the job done, striking out Nick Maton to extinguish the suddenly hot Tigers.
Bradish’s slider was more of a weapon today than against Boston, and his curveball (used sparingly) continued to get whiffs. Once again, though, he isn’t getting as much from his fastball as he did a season ago. It’s plenty competitive, averaging just under 94 mph, but it’s not getting whiffs. And it’s a similar story for his sinker. That’s the offering that Rogers hit for a home run, and that Torkelson was plunked with. This was a positive step forward, but still not where Bradish wants to be overall.
Fortunately, the bullpen had a nice day, or at least they were able to work around any struggles they did have.
But before that we should mention the Orioles’ final run of the day. Jorge Mateo added a little insurance for the Birds in the top of the ninth when he hit his sixth dong of the season. The Orioles decided not to deal from their shortstop surplus during the offseason, but given Mateo’s success right now it feels almost impossible to avoid moving one of the organization’s younger options at the position later this summer. Mateo is one of the first names in the lineup everyday, and that doesn’t seem likely to change any time soon.
OK, back to the relievers!
Pérez was called upon for just the one out, which he got. Austin Voth came in as a bridge to the back of the ‘pen, and he did well, tossing two scoreless. He did leave somewhat of a mess in the eighth inning, when he opened the inning with a walk. But Danny Coulombe was able to help out with two strikeouts before Yennier Cano was brought in to record the final out, another K. Cano stayed on for the ninth and nabbed his second save of the season by retiring the Tigers in order.
This series in Detroit was not particularly pretty for the Orioles. Grayson Rodriguez was the only starter that impressed, and that is a tad worrying against a bad Tigers offense. But the offense did enough to bail them out, and the relievers had themselves a decent showing overall. Anytime you can take three out of four, regardless of the opponent, that’s a good weekend.
The Orioles will continue on against the AL Central this week. After an off day on Monday they begin a three-game set in Kansas City with the 7-22 Royals on Tuesday. It seems ridiculous to say a sweep should be expected, but with the way these two teams are headed that isn’t entirely ridiculous.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for April 30, 2023?
This poll is closed
Cionel Pérez (got out of Bradish’s jam)
Austin Voth (win, bridged the gap)
Yennier Cano (four-out save)
Ryan Mountcastle (an RBI, finally! and other stuff)