The Orioles leave Tampa Bay only having won one game but some parts of their game improved and some have gone cold.
While the offense only scored four runs in the series, the pitching only gave up six. If the Orioles can have that kind of pitching with the offense they have shown in previous games this season, watch out.
Game One: Rays: 2, Orioles: 0
Kevin Gausman made his 2016 debut on Monday night and pitched decently. Gausman went five innings allowing one run on three hits while striking out seven and walking two. If it were not for an umpire squeezing the strike zone on Gausman, he could have possibly gone a little bit more into the game.
In the 5th inning, Gausman was facing Curt Casali and threw a pitch that could have been called a strike, and was earlier in the game. Casali had two strikes so the at bat was extended and the next pitch he hit was a double into the corner in left field, scoring a run for the Rays.
Gausman showed real promise that I hope he can continue throughout the season and finally start to head towards being the ace of the rotation.
Game Two: Rays: 3, Orioles: 1
Once again, the Orioles were able to get guys on base but not find a way to bring them home. The O’s went 2-6 with runners in scoring position but even more surprisingly, the Rays went 0-10 so credit to the Orioles pitchers there.
Ubaldo Jimenez pitched okay, going six innings allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six and walking three.
The big knock in the game came when Kevin Kiermaier hit a two run home run to give the Rays a 3-1 lead, cementing that score that led to them winning. It was on Jimenez’s 98th pitch so it is hard to criticize his performance that much by just looking at the stats, especially when the Rays went 0-10 with runners in scoring position.
Game Three: Orioles: 3, Rays: 1
Trying to avoid being swept for the first time this season, the Orioles sent Chris Tillman to the mound in hopes to continue how well he pitched when he last faced Toronto.
Tillman pitched exceptionally well, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on two hits and struck out nine and only walked two. If we see this version of Chris Tillman from here on out, the Orioles may finally have that pitcher they can see is pitching and do “well, we have a really good chance at winning today.”
As for the offense, it was fairly quiet outside of the top of the 5th for the O’s. With two outs, Nolan Reimold drew a walk which was then followed with a Jonathan Schoop bloop single to center field. Next up was Joey Rickard who hit his second home run of the season, breaking the scoreless tie and making it 3-0 Orioles.
This was comforting to see, especially from Rickard because he has been struggling of late and hopefully this sparks his offense and it can become anything like we saw the first week of the season.
It would not be fair to write a recap of this game without mentioning what an amazing catch Steven Sousa, Jr. made in the top of the 4th.
#Statcast metrics for Souza’s great catch… First step 0.3 seconds, distance covered 88ft, route efficiency 96.1%, top speed 19.5 MPH.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) April 28, 2016
It was so eerily similar to the catch he made back in 2014, when he was with the Nationals, that was the final out in Jordan Zimmermann‘s no hitter.
I am not too overtly happy with how the series turned out but I was glad to see the Orioles pitching be somewhat effective. If anything, the O’s offensive struggles are just a credit to how good Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Matt Moore can be.
Looking ahead, the Orioles welcome the Chicago White Sox, the holders of the best record in baseball, to Camden Yards for a four game series starting Thursday night.
Tyler Wilson is set to open up the series against John Danks with Mike Wright facing Carlos Rodon in game two, Kevin Gausman going up against Mat Latos and Ubaldo Jimenez finishing up the series against the White Sox ace Chris Sale.