After losing two out of three against the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles headed to Houston to face the Astros and it was not a pretty sight.
The Astros actually ended up setting the record as being the first team in MLB history to strike out 15+ hitters in three straight games. With the way the Orioles played this series, this does not surprise me at all.
Game One: Astros: 3, Orioles: 2
In what was easily the most winnable game for the Orioles in the entire series, the match up between the two teams would end up going 13 innings.
As for the Astros, Luis Valbuena would hit a two run home run in the bottom of the fifth to make it 2-1 at the time and won the game in the 13th off a single by Carlos Correa to center field to score Tony Kemp, who lead off the inning with a triple.
The Orioles starter in the game, Chris Tillman, pitched very well but just did not have the run support behind him. Tillman went seven innings allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five but walked three hitters.
He was relieved by Darren O’Day, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens and Dylan Bundy. O’Day, Brach, and Givens would combine to five scoreless innings allowing only three base runners; Givens allowed zero himself. As for Bundy, a lead off triple to Kemp to start the inning followed by back to back intentional walks to George Springer and Jose Altuve would load the bases for Carlos Correa, who got the game winning single.
Game Two: Astros: 4, Orioles: 3
In another close contest, the Astros were powered by the home run ball in this game. Specifically, from Luis Valbuena, for the second time in the series, and Evan Gattis.
For the Orioles starter Tyler Wilson, he would go six innings allowing four runs on six hits while striking out four and walking nobody. He was relieved by Vance Worley who pitched two scoreless innings allowing only two hits and struck out three.
As for the Orioles offense, it looked pretty outmatched compared to the Astros. In the top of the first, Jonathan Schoop would get an RBI to drive in Manny Machado to make it 1-0 at the time. In the bottom of the sixth, Chris Davis would score on a wild pitch from Collin McHugh and Pedro Alvarez would get an RBI infield single, allowing Mark Trumbo to score.
Game Three: Astros: 4, Orioles: 2
Kevin Gausman was handed the ball to start the series finale and once again did not get any run support to help him out at all. Gausman on the night went only five innings allowing four runs on five hits while striking out seven and only walking one.
The struggle for Gausman tonight was the home run ball, of which the Astros had three. George Springer got a lead off home run in the bottom of the first with Luis Valbuena hitting his third home run of the series in the second inning and that would eventually be followed by Springer’s second of the game in the fifth.
The Orioles would have a home run of their own with Mark Trumbo getting his 14th on the season in the top of the second. The only other run for the Orioles came in the top of the ninth with a Manny Machado RBI single to score Hyun Soo Kim, who himself had a good series.
The obvious takeaway from all of this is that the Orioles need to readjust their hitting approach in some way, shape or form. If pitchers are adapting to them then they need to return the favor in a way and not just go up there swinging at every pitch you think is a strike.
They will hope to do that this weekend when they go to Cleveland to face the Indians. Mike Wright will pitch the opening game against Trevor Bauer with Ubaldo Jimenez and Danny Salazar going in game two and Mike Clevinger going in game three for the Indians with the Orioles starter still to be announced.
After this final series during the road trip, the Orioles will come back to Baltimore for a 10 game home stand with four games against the Red Sox and three against the Yankees and Royals.