After being embarrassingly swept by the Houston Astros, the Orioles headed off to Cleveland to face the Indians. This series was viewed as a chance to get back to how the team was hitting just a few weeks ago it seemed.
Game One: Orioles: 6, Indians: 4
In the opener of the series, Mike Wright took the mound for the Orioles and was not all that effective on the mound but did try to keep the Indians to scoring the minimum, it felt like. Wright only went 4 2/3 innings pitched while giving up three runs on six hits while striking out four and walking two. The thing that hurt Wright the most was his pitch count, which was at 99 when he was pulled.
In a very surprising move that ended off being a good one, Buck Showalter went to Dylan Bundy in the bottom of the fifth after pulling Wright. Bundy was brought in with two runners in scoring position and was able to get Mike Napoli to pop up to end the inning. Bundy pitched the six inning as well and finished that inning so he ended up getting his first win of his major league career.
As for the Orioles offense, look no further than that brand new lineup. For the first time this season, Adam Jones was inserted into the leadoff spot, Hyun Soo Kim hit second, Machado hit third and Joey Rickard was on the bench. Jones went 3-5 on the night, Kim unfortunately went 0-3 with a hit by pitch and Manny Machado went 4-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Game Two: Indians: 11, Orioles: 4
Poor, poor Ubaldo Jimenez. You really do have to feel for the guy at this point. Jimenez got the start against his former team, who were smart enough to give him a qualifying offer and get a draft pick from the Orioles for him, and pitched the way you would think he would pitch.
Jimenez on the day was only able to go 1 2/3 innings allowing six runs, three earned, on five hits while striking out only one and walking three. Jimenez was relieved by Vance Worley who was able to go 4 1/3 inning, saving the bullpen as much as possible.
The big takeaway from this game is the uncharacteristic nature of how poorly the defense played during the game. The Orioles committed four errors in the game with one belonging to Matt Wieters, one to Ashur Tolliver and two to Pedro Alvarez. It was a very hard day to defend the “best defense in baseball” line that gets thrown out about the Orioles so very often.
Game Three: Orioles: 6, Indians: 4
Weirdly enough, for the second time this series, the final score is 6-4. Also a fun little thing I noticed: the team that lost a game in these three scored four runs. It is always something weird when the Orioles play Cleveland, it feels like.
Anyways, the Orioles sent Chris Tillman to the mound for this one who has been pitching very well in this young season so far. But, Tillman faced some struggles today; primarily with the home run ball.
Tillman went six innings on the day allowing four runs on four hits while striking out three and walking three as well. The big blows were the three home runs he allowed to Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli and Jason Kipnis, respectively.
Lucky enough for Tillman, the bullpen shut the door on the Indians offense, preventing them from scoring any more in this game. Brad Brach, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton all combined for three innings pitched with allowing only four hits while striking out six.
For the Orioles offense on the day, it got started in the top of the first with a Mark Trumbo 3-RBI triple that scored Adam Jones, Manny Machado and Chris Davis. In the fourth inning, Ryan Flaherty would get a sac fly to make it 4-0 at the time and also giving Ryan Flaherty his first RBI of the season.
After the Indians made it a 4-4 game, the Orioles would regain the lead in the seventh with Hyun Soo Kim’s first Major League home run which could not have come at a more opportune time. That would be followed by a Nolan Reimold solo home run in the top of the ninth off former Orioles pitcher Tommy Hunter to give the O’s an insurance run.
I was glad to see a mixup in a lineup that needed some form a spark in any way, shape or form and they definitely got that boost I feel like in this last series on the road before a long home stand.
Speaking of that home stand, it will start with the Boston Red Sox into town and they just happen to be a game ahead of the Orioles in the American League East at the time I am writing this. Tyler Wilson will open up the series against Steven Wright with Kevin Gausman and former Orioles prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, making his season debut, going in game two, Mike Wright and Joe Kelly going in game three and Ubaldo Jimenez going against Rick Porcello, most likely, in the series finale.
After facing the Red Sox, the Orioles will welcome the Yankees back to Camden Yards for the second time this season and then wrap up the 10 game home stand with a three game series against the Kansas City Royals starting on June 6th.