After a disappointing extra-innings loss on Tuesday, the Orioles were looking to rebound in game 2 of their series against the Brewers. Instead, they did the exact opposite, falling completely flat in a 10-2 loss to Milwaukee.
Perhaps it’s fair to say that the game was over before it ever started. That was the type of form that Brewers starting pitcher Corbin Burnes was in on Wednesday night. The 2021 NL Cy Young winner was dominant from the get go, striking out two of the first three hitters in the 1st inning to set the tone for his evening. All night, Burnes worked his cutter to both sides of the plate baffled Orioles hitters with his curveball and blew sinkers right by Baltimore. In the two innings where he allowed hits, he erased one on a double play the next batter and struck out the side around a single in 5th inning.
Burnes’ final line—eight shutout innings with only two hits allowed, no walks and nine K’s—is the best pitching performance the Orioles have seen from an opposing starter all year. The storyline coming into the game was that Burnes was having a down start to his 2023 season. You wouldn’t know that at all the way he carved up the Orioles.
It didn’t help that the O’s hitters continued to look lost at the plate. Baltimore got there only two hits off Burnes on a single that Aaron Hicks blooped over third base and a dribbler down the third base line from Gunnar Henderson. Against Burnes, the Orioles only had four hard hit balls and none of them went for hits.
To compound Birdland’s misery, their nemesis from Game 1—Brewers outfielder Joey Wiemer—was back with a vengeance in Game 2. After taking away a potential game winning hit and then walking things off in the 10th inning on Tuesday, Wiemer did so much more on Wednesday. He finished the game 4-4 with two home runs and five RBIs. He also took a hit away from Henderson with a sliding catch in CF—just for good measure.
While the Brewers got the best of Burnes Wednesday night, the same could not be said for O’s starter Dean Kremer. It started off well for Kremer. He struck out Brewers leadoff hitter Christian Yelich on a cutter he ran in on Yelich’s hands. Things then got bad in a hurry. The next batter, Willy Adames, looked like he walked on four pitches, only for ball four to be called a strike. The very next pitch, Adames crushed a center-cut fastball to center field to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
Kremer got through the rest of the 1st without issue and then pitched a clean 2nd inning. That stretch of five consecutive outs ended in a hurry in the 3rd. Brewers catcher Victor Caratini led off the inning by inside-outing a first-pitch fastball down the left field line for a double. Then Wiemer stepped up to the plate and immediately began terrorizing the O’s again. The outfielder launched a first-pitch cutter over the right-center fence for a two-run home run, expanding the Milwaukee lead to 3-0. Adames would double to LF two batters later, but Kremer got a pop up and a weak ground ball from the next two hitters to escape the inning.
The scoring didn’t stop there for the Brew Crew, as they added more runs in the 4th and 5th innings. Outfielder Brian Anderson reached base after home plate umpire Hunter Wendelstedt said that an inside changeup brushed Anderson. On replay it looked like the pitch just missed Anderson, but he was awarded first base anyway. After Caratini singled and move Anderson to second, Wiemer blooped a two-out single in front of Anthony Santander in RF to give Milwaukee a 4-0 lead.
During Kremer’s final inning in the 5th, the Brewers got two more runs on a two-out single from third baseman Owen Miller, an opposite-field double from DH Jon Singleton and a single up the middle from Anderson. There were times during the game where it felt like Kremer was pitching better than the scoreline suggested. At the same time his final line—five innings, nine hits, six earned runs and five Ks—feels about right for what Kremer showed.
Ultimately the bats didn’t give Kremer enough support for it to matter, but seeing him have his first bad outing in over a month still stings. When it goes bad for Kremer, it’s usually because of the long ball and that was the case again on Wednesday night.
Things did not get any better once the Orioles brought in Bruce Zimmermann to relieve Kremer. Making only his second appearance since being recalled from Triple-A. In the 6th, Zimmermann allowed the first two hitters to reach to give the Brewers second and third with no one out. The Baltimore-native was able to work out of that jam without allowing a run, but he wasn’t so lucky in the 7th. After singles from pinch-hitter William Contreras and Anderson, second baseman Andruw Monasterio laced a ball to left that just alluded the glove of a diving Santander, allowing Contreras to come home for the Brewers seventh run.
Caratini then hit a sac fly to score Anderson, before Wiemer obliterated a ball down the left field line for his second home run of the evening. Zimmerman worked around another two-on, two-out jam in the 8th, but the damage was already done as the O’s trailed 10-0.
It’s worth pointing out that Wendelstadt did the Orioles no favors behind the plate. While he is known for having a big strike zone, he seemed to give Burnes borderline strike calls that Kremer didn’t get. In the 5th and 6th innings, Hicks and Adley Rutschman both struck out looking on balls clearly outside the zone. Manager Brandon Hyde was even ejected in the 5th for arguing against the ridiculous nature of some of Wendelstedt’s strike calls.
I’m sure many Orioles fans and players alike wished they could’ve left the game along with Hyder. The O’s did tack on two runs in the top of the 9th, one a bases loaded single from Austin Hays and a run producing double play. However, those runs rang hollow in perhaps the Orioles worst loss of the season. These Birds can’t come back to Camden Yards soon enough.