A little too late for a Wild Card push following a horrid series against the Yankees, the Orioles looked to bounce back against the Atlanta Braves, an even tougher opponent. But, were they able to do it?
2020 has been a year of surprises for the Orioles, and Jorge López is just another one of those surprises. The 27-year-old has been solid as a starter since being claimed on waivers from the Kansas City Royals.
López improves to 2-0 on the season with a gem in game one of this series. He lasted seven innings, allowing just one run on five hits. Helping to solidify a new starting rotation in Baltimore is López, who isn’t even a free agent until 2025.
Luckily for López, he had PLENTY of run support, which ironically came following four games where the offense was M.I.A.
The Birds scored nine runs in the third inning while up 1-0 on the backs of home runs by DJ Stewart, Ryan Mountcastle, and José Iglesias. Cedric Mullins also added to the barrage with a two-run single. The Orioles led 10-0 going into the fourth inning.
The O’s would add four more through the late stages of the game from three RBI singles and a Pat Valaika home run in, you guessed it, the seventh inning.
Cole Sulser and newbie Carson Fulmer were great, as they each tossed an inning of scoreless baseball to snag a 14-1 victory.
Game two was a polar opposite affair, as the Oriole offense was no where to be found once again.
Only mustering four hits against the Braves won’t get the job done. The Birds’ one run came in the ninth while down five runs. José Iglesias brought home Cedric Mullins with two outs on a fielder’s choice.
Thomas Eshelman got the start and was decent. He only gave up two runs but could only last 3.2 innings. The bullpen combination of Paul Fry, Travis Lakins Sr., and Cole Susler was lights out, holding the Braves scoreless until the ninth. Asher Wojciechowski gave up three in that inning to seal a 5-1 loss for the Birds.
Keegan Akin had a chance to redeem himself in a series-deciding game three. After a horrendous last outing from the youngster, things would be different this time.
Akin was as good as advertised, fanning nine Braves hitters in his way to five scoreless innings and a victory. He stifled the Braves offense, allowing the O’s offense to win this game from the start.
The Orioles put up a three spot in the third, scoring an RBI double by Hanser Alberto and on an RBI groundout from José Iglesias and sac fly from Ryan Mountcastle.
Still ahead 3-1 in the sixth, Renato Núñez put the finishing touches on this series with a two-RBI double, his ninth of the year.
The Orioles bullpen was great once again, helping Akin and the offense seal a 5-1 victory.
The Orioles will face the Rays five times in the next four days and see a lot of a very good baseball team. The series starts with a doubleheader Thursday that finishes a previous series from August that was left unfinished. The four layer games will be its own series.
Be sure to catch the Orioles as they face off with the Rays Thursday starting at 4:35 p.m. EST.
Let’s Go O’s!