The O’s continue their six-game interleague homestand when they face the St. Louis Cardinals tonight in the first game of a three-game series. Zach Britton (6-5, 3.19 ERA) will face Kyle Lohse (7-4, 2.91 ERA), who has struggled in interleague play throughout his career. Lohse is 6-14 in 30 — 26 starts — and has a horrendous 5.93 ERA in those contests, which is the highest in interleague history. His team hasn’t been doing so well of late either. The Cardinals have lost five of six games since Albert Pujols was placed on the disabled list and are currently on a six-game road losing streak.
If the O’s continue to hit home runs at the pace they have been, it will be tough for the Cardinals to end that streak tonight. The O’s have an AL-best 32 homers in June including nine in last weekend’s series against the Reds, who they took two out of three against. Britton will try to shut down a Cardinals lineup that ranks second in the majors in batting average (.269). And even though the Cardinals are missing their best hitter in Pujols, they still have a potent lineup that are more than capable of getting hot at any time. I’m curious to see if Britton will bounce back after a shaky outing in his last start against the Pirates.
Despite the fact that I feel like I’m in a sauna, it looks like it’s going to be a pretty good night for baseball. The seats are decently filled up and even though the Cardinals seem to travel well, there is still a lot of black and orange out here. Britton put together a nice and short 1-2-3 first inning. Let’s see if the O’s can jump on Lohse early.
Nick Markakis extending his current hitting streak to 17 games with a one-out double in the first. The 17-game hit streak ties his career high and is the third time he has reached that mark. The O’s couldn’t capitalize on it, though, as the inning ended with a Vlad ground out to first.
Well the second inning didn’t go as smoothly as the first for Britton. He couldn’t get out of the inning after putting runners on first and third with two outs and allowed three consecutive singles, which led to three Cardinals runs. The Cards now lead 3-0 going into the bottom of the second.
The O’s were able to get two runners on base with just one out, but couldn’t get them across home plate. Britton needs to calm down now and start making his pitches. He looks a little shaky, but he has responded well so far this season when he has been roughed up early on in the game.
Britton ran into a little more trouble in the third, but got out of a one-out jam with two men on with further damage. And I just saw my buddy on the big screen again! Every time I come to a game he’s on there. He must know the camera man or something because I’ve been to plenty of O’s games and have never made it to the big screen.
The O’s are getting less baserunners on each inning and only have three hits through four innings. Britton seems to have settled down a bit and should be able to keep the O’s in the game, but if the bats don’t get going it won’t matter. There is still plenty of time left and with the O’s hitting home runs like they have been, all it takes is a few base hits and a long ball and they’re right back in it.
That’s the second straight inning the O’s have ended after hitting into a double play. That’s exactly what we don’t need right now. Colby Rasmus just hit a solo homer in the sixth to give the Cards a 4-0 lead. Now the rain we’ve been waiting on all day has started coming down along with a few bolts of lightning. The rain delay is in effect.
Play has resumed after a 28-minute rain delay and Clay Rapada is now on the mound for the O’s. He struck out Mark Hamilton to end the inning and here come the O’s up to bat.
The O’s just don’t seem to mentally be in this game. I’m not sure what it is, but they seem to just be going through the motions. There hasn’t really been any excitement yet on the O’s side and they haven’t given the fans much to cheer about up to this point.
The Cardinals added another run to their total in the seventh inning after Matt Holliday hit a solo homer to left center off Jason Berken. The Cardinals now lead 6-0 and the O’s chances of coming back keep getting slimmer.
Five of the last six O’s outs have been strikeouts, which furthers my belief that the O’s didn’t show up mentally tonight.
J.J. Hardy finally put the O’s on the board with a solo homer as they continue to produce runs via the long ball. Adam Jones added an RBI-double after a Markakis single to pull the O’s within four. But it may be too little too late for the O’s tonight as they trail 6-2 and will need a big ninth inning to pull this one out.
Well, there’s a nice highlight for the game. Luke Scott snagged a sure home run from Holliday and gingerly ran back to the dugout showered by chants of Luuuuuuuke by the fans still here hoping for a miracle.
The O’s just flat out got outplayed tonight. They started to show signs of life late in the game, but fell too far behind early. The Cardinals produced runs when they had to without wasting many baserunners and the O’s wasted to many baserunners. They hit into two double plays and struck out nine times, which usually doesn’t translate to a win. Better luck tomorrow, guys.
Submitted by Steve Giles