The Orioles losing streak reached four games on Saturday evening as the Twins made quick work of them, winning 1-0 in a pitching duel at Camden Yards.
It wasn’t all bad news. Orioles starter Kyle Bradish began July just as ended June, cruising. The righty did give up some hard contact, including a solo homer to Joey Gallo in the fourth inning. But that blast was Minnesota’s lone extra-base hit against the second-year righty. Bradish issued just one walk and worked around seven total hits while tossing six innings for his third quality start in four attempts. His season ERA is down to 3.58.
Unfortunately, Twins starter Bailey Ober was even better. He allowed only two hits (both singles) over seven dominant innings. No walks. No runs. No chance for the Orioles lineup. The O’s didn’t even get a runner into scoring position against Ober.
It was a masterclass of pitching without overwhelming stuff from Ober. He did manage eight strikeouts but his domination was largely a result of encouraging weak contact with pinpoint control and pitch mix. Sometimes you just get bested by someone at the top of their game, and this was one of those times.
But the bats did put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth. Adley Rutschman reached on an infield single, and pinch runner Jorge Mateo stole second. Anthony Santander nearly came through with some Orioles Magic on a fly ball down the right field line, but Max Kepler was able to track it down and make a sliding catch in the corner. Maybe Mateo should have tried to tag up, but it didn’t even matter since Ryan O’Hearn grounded out to end the game just a few pitches later.
Losing 1-0 is always frustrating. The offense just had to do SOMETHING, and instead did nearly nothing. It’s even worse that they scored just once on Friday. And it doesn’t get easier with arguably the Twins’ best starter on deck to deal tomorrow.
Hopefully, this is just a dry spell that the lineup snaps out of. Or maybe we are witnessing the end of usefulness from the likes of Ryan O’Hearn and Aaron Hicks. That would surprise very few, but would also indicate that something significant may need to change. Odds are that that won’t happen until we’ll beyond the All-Star break and maybe even the trade deadline.
This series wraps up on Sunday with a lunchtime finale on Peacock. Cole Irvin (1-3, 7.18 ERA) starts for the O’s against Twins’ right Sonny Gray (4-2, 2.67 ERA). First pitch is 12:05.