It is a well known fact that the Orioles do not have the best starting pitching in the league. It is also a very well known fact that the Orioles have one of the best offenses in the league. Both of those got exposed very prominently over the weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Game One: Orioles: 6, Blue Jays: 5
Tyler Wilson got the start for the Orioles in the series opener and he had a rough appearance. Wilson went 5 2/3 innings allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out three but also walking three.
Dylan Bundy came in to relieve Wilson and pitched a very effective 2 1/3 innings on the night. Bundy allowed only a hit and a walk in that span and allowed no runs to score. This is a sign of what is likely to come for Bundy with his appearances being more stretched out. So far, it seems to be working well.
As for the offense, the Orioles opened up the top of the first with a Manny Machado RBI double to make it an early 1-0 lead. Down 4-1 in the third inning, Chris Davis would hit a solo home run followed by a Matt Wieters RBI force out, making it a 4-3 game in favor still of Toronto.
In the top of the sixth, Pedro Alvarez connected for a home run followed by another Davis home run in the seventh to make it a 5-5 tie.
The Orioles would gain the lead in the top of the ninth thanks again to Chris Davis, who this time only got a sacrifice fly but it was enough to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead and allow them to close out the game.
Game Two: Blue Jays: 4, Orioles: 3
The second game of the series gave us the lowest scoring one of the series. Kevin Gausman started for the Orioles and pitched fairly decent. Gausman went 6 1/3 innings allowing three runs, two earned, on eight hits while striking out four and walking two.
All of the Orioles’ runs came via the long ball with Jonathan Schoop hitting a solo shot in the fifth and Chris Davis hitting a two run shot in the sixth.
The Jays would win the game in the bottom of the tenth thanks to an Edwin Encarnacion walk off home run, which came off Brad Brach out of all people. At the time, Brach had a 0.84 ERA and Encarnacion was in an 0/19 skid and since the law of averages are evil, Encarnacion broke out of that skid at the most opportune time for himself.
Game Three: Blue Jays: 11, Orioles: 6
Mike Wright was handed the ball for the third game of this series and held his own up until the sixth inning. In that fateful inning, however, Wright was sent out to start the inning with a high pitch count and allowed the first batter of the inning, Kevin Pillar, to reach with a single.
Wright was then pulled for T.J. McFarland, a questionable move at the time considering the Orioles only had a one run lead. McFarland allowed the next batter, Darwin Barney, to get a single, moving Pillar to third. Devon Travis then hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game up. The next two batters were walked and that was followed by a Josh Donaldson sacrifice fly, making it a 5-4 game. The big blow came on the next pitch when Edwin Encarnacion hit a three run home run, making it an 8-4 game.
As for the Orioles’ offense, Joey Rickard, Chris Davis and Manny Machado all had home runs, giving the Orioles more than enough chances to win the ballgame if it were not for the pitching.
Game Four: Blue Jays: 10, Orioles: 9
Okay, THIS was the most stressful game of the season for many, many reasons. The first and easy reason: Ubaldo Jimenez started the game and only got one out. Jimenez went 1/3 of an inning allowing five runs on six hits and his only out was a strikeout.
The second most stressful thing about this game was that the Orioles scored nine runs and still lost. On top of that, they hit FIVE home runs as a team. Pedro Alvarez, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, who had two, and Matt Wieters all hit home runs in the game.
And finally, the Orioles were down 7-1 at one point, made it a 7-6 game which inevitably became a 10-6 game and still lost by one run. It absolutely blew my mind.
As pleased as I am with how the Orioles offense handled themselves, I am just as disappointed that the pitching once again could not hold their own. Something in this formula seriously needs to change if the Orioles hope to be a contending team in 2016, because they have shown how good they can be on both sides of the equation.
Overall, I am obviously sad about how this series went simply because almost all of these games seemed winnable by the Orioles and the three losses were ones that just slipped out of their hands. I am very happy that Chris Davis has now hit a home run in five straight games and has seemingly found his groove for the first time this season. It just sucks that it will end soon and he will go back into being one of the more frustrating players to watch on the team, but we all know the kind of player he is by now.
Looking ahead, the Orioles will head to Boston to face off against the Red Sox. Chris Tillman and David Price will open up the series followed by Tyler Wilson and Steven Wright facing off in game two and Kevin Gausman going up against Eduardo Rodriguez in the series finale.