The rain may have delayed Jordan Westburg from the start of his major league debut, and it may have put a big interruption in the middle of it, but it could not deny him his share of the glory. With family looking on with anticipation and friends excitedly chanting his name, Westburg collected his first major league walk, RBI, and hit all in separate plate appearances. He got in some highlight reel defense, too. All of this was a fun part of the Orioles beating the Reds, 10-3.
Because of the rain, it was almost like two separate games. The Orioles won both of the games, not that they get credit for two wins in their season tally. When the rain interrupted the game in the third inning, they were winning, 2-1. After the game restarted, the O’s outscored Cincinnati, 8-2. It is good that they did not make it dramatic for everyone who stayed up late to watch the end, or for everyone who didn’t want to stay up late to watch the end.
At the outset of the game, each team had a lefty starting pitcher who has been struggling this season. For the Reds, this was Brandon Williamson. For the Orioles, Cole Irvin. It was Irvin who faltered first, starting off the game by allowing three hits in the first inning, including a first pitch of the game double hit by Cincy’s leadoff man, Kevin Newman. It took two singles to get Newman home.
The Orioles faced this early 1-0 deficit and it looked like the Reds might be rocketing everything off of Irvin all night. That was a bad first inning. We’ve become acquainted with bad Irvin innings in his two handfuls of starts for the Orioles so far. Irvin, to his credit, bounced back from this flirtation with disaster and retired seven Reds in a row after allowing the run.
It took another inning before the Orioles got anything going against Williamson. Fittingly, it was Westburg who got the party started. With his parents and wife looking on, he fought back from an 0-2 count to draw a walk. Williamson, who kept suspiciously having PitchCom issues when his pitch clock timer got down to one second, has not had walk problems in his starts to date but he went on to walk Ryan McKenna and Jorge Mateo.
This all would have amounted to nothing if Austin Hays didn’t drive anyone in after the lineup turned over to his leadoff spot. He flared a line drive into center field to score Westburg and McKenna, giving them a lead at 2-1 that they did not relinquish for the rest of the game.
The rain arrived almost exactly as Westburg stepped up for his first plate appearance, off and on in fits and starts before really unloading in the bottom of the third inning, after Anthony Santander led off that inning with a single. A delay of more than an hour chased each starting pitcher, as is standard. Irvin was robbed of the chance to show he could put together a good outing against a good offense. The Orioles offense was robbed of the chance to see more of Williamson.
A parade of Reds relievers did not have a good time trying to stitch together the rest of the game. Fernando Cruz allowed a run in two innings, in addition to allowing the runner he inherited on the far side of the rain delay to score. Eduardo Salazar gave up three runs in an inning, and Jake Wong gave up three runs in three innings. These Reds jabronis combined to walk nine Orioles over the course of the game. Thanks.
The Orioles brought in Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann for some long relief after the rain delay was over with. Zimmermann pitched the fourth and fifth without incident. One reason that he was able to do this was because there was a great glove flip play made by Westburg on a ground ball that could have snuck up the middle instead:
Jordan Westburg and Jorge Mateo almost turned the best double play of the Orioles' season— Jacob Calvin Meyer (@jcalvinmeyer) June 27, 2023
(video courtesy of MASN) pic.twitter.com/ApSXvOdKQu
That is a heck of a play.
Zimmermann’s sixth inning finished with incident. He hit leadoff batter Jonathan India with a pitch, and later in the inning allowed a two-run home run to Reds left fielder Spencer Steer. This shot into the Orioles bullpen was Steer’s 12th homer of the season. At the time, this cut a 7-1 Orioles lead to 7-3. Removed from blowout territory, the O’s did not push Zimmermann for a fourth inning, so he finished with two runs allowed on four hits over three innings.
The Orioles scored three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to make it a comfy blowout again. Bryan Baker pitched a scoreless seventh, Mike Baumann a scoreless eighth in spite of two walks, and Cionel Pérez locked the already-closed door, though not before walking a batter and hitting another. The last out was recorded at precisely midnight.
It was a fine night for the offense. They got twelve hits in all on top of the nine walks. Five players had multi-hit games, including Hays, whose 2-5 batting increased his average to .319, pulling him ahead of his tie with the idle Bo Bichette for the AL lead in that category. The only hitless Orioles were Jorge Mateo and Aaron Hicks. Mateo walked twice and Hicks walked three times. That’ll do.
With the victory, the Orioles improve to 48-29. That’s a 19 games over .500 record for the first time since the 2014 season, when they finished 30 games over. They gained a half-game on the whole rest of the division since everyone else was off. The O’s are four back of the Rays and just two back in the loss column. The Rays kick off a three-game set in Arizona on Tuesday night.
A tougher pitching opponent awaits the Orioles on Tuesday. Reds rookie Andrew Abbott, who has a 1.14 ERA across his first four starts, takes the mound. Tyler Wells gets a start for the Orioles, looking to defend his MLB lead in WHIP and hopefully cut his home run allowed rate. Unless weather gets in the way again, first pitch is set for 7:05.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for June 26, 2023?
This poll is closed
Jordan Westburg (a little bit of everything fun in his MLB debut)
Austin Hays (2 hits, 3 RBI)
Adley Rutschman (2 hits, walk, 2 RBI)