The first series of the 2020 Orioles season has come to a close, and for Orioles fans, it was an exciting one to say the least.
Opening Day was one to forget for Birdland, as the Red Sox defeated the O’s 13-2. Tommy Milone got the start for Baltimore, after John Means, who was originally supposed to start, landed on the Injured List with arm fatigue.
Milone looked strong to start, having a clean first and second inning. It was all downhill after that, as he gave up four runs on four hits in the third to end his night.
The bullpen gave up nine runs after that, including an appearance from Cody Carroll that resulted in three walks and a single, eventually resulting in four earned runs on his stat line.
Travis Lakins Sr. and David Hess would come in and give up two and three earned runs respectively. Hess would eat up three innings in relief to help the Orioles bullpen save their arms for the rest of the series.
The only runs scored for the O’s in game one were an RBI single by Renato Núñez and a solo home run by Rio Ruiz.
On to game two, and this one was a better outing for the Birds.
This game had the perfect mix of good offense and even better pitching, as Alex Cobb made his first start of 2020 and didn’t disappoint. The veteran right-hander went 5.1 innings, striking out six and walking zero.
The Orioles offense woke up early in this game, as Renato Núñez hit a double off the Green Monster that scored two runs in the first. Hanser Alberto would go 3-for-5 against, you guessed it, a lefty. Anthony Santander would hit a 2-RBI double, which would give the Orioles the final score of 7-2 and their first victory of 2020.
Game three would have the offense continuing its hot streak.
Rio Ruiz would continue his home run tear in the first with a 2-run shot. Josè Iglesias went 4-for-5 with an RBI double, and Anthony Santander hit a 2-run bomb of his own, along with two flashy plays in right field. Chris Davis would get his first hit of the season, an RBI double that just missed going over the Green Monster.
Wade LeBlanc made his Orioles debut on the mound and looked impressive, going 5.2 innings, striking out four and giving up four earned runs to get the win.
The Orioles ultimately took two out of three games in Boston, staying tied for first place in the American League East standings to begin the year.
What Was Hot:
I think it’s easy to say that the Oriole offense was on fire this series, scoring 16 runs against Boston pitching.
Names like Josè Iglesias and Hanser Alberto couldn’t stop getting base hits, as they went a combined 13-for-25. That’s a combined .520 batting average, folks.
Anthony Santander came up with a trio of clutch hits, along with Renato Núñez holding down that designated hitter role and Rio Ruiz clobbering two homers in the series.
The Orioles pitching staff also didn’t allow a single walk in games two and three. That’s the first time no walks were allowed in back-to-back games in five years for the O’s. Nice outings from Cobb and LeBlanc gave the team a chance to win, and the results speak for themselves.
The team defense also shined, as Anthony Santander made two outstanding catches in right field and Josè Iglesias proved why he’s an elite defender at short.
What Could Use Some Work:
I think the Orioles’ main weakness is the bullpen.
The bullpen gave up 14 runs this series and had to come in games in tough situations. Keep an eye out for names like Cole Susler, who earned his first career save in game three, and Richard Bleier, who also had a solid outing in game two.
Base running mistakes were a big problem this series as well. Hanser Alberto and Chris Davis both got doubled up, after thinking there were two outs in an inning instead of one. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said that those kinds of mistakes are “unacceptable.”
What’s Up Next:
The Orioles are headed down south, as they begin a two-game series against Miami at Marlins Park. After those two games, the Birds fly home to beautiful Oriole Park at Camden Yards to face the Marlins for two more games.
Asher Wojciechowski and Kohl Stewart are scheduled to start the two away games in Miami, while Tommy Milone and the returning John Means will take the mound at Camden Yards.
The team gets to reunite with former Oriole Jonathan Villar in what looks to be a battle of first place teams.
Orioles baseball is back, folks. What a great way to begin this strange season. This type of start leads you to think, “Why Not?”