Finally, the Orioles played someone in the A.L. East other than the Red Sox or Yankees. The Tampa Bay Rays came to town for a three-game set, their first three meetings this season.
Unfortunately for the O’s, the first meeting did not go as planned, as Tampa Bay swept the Birds three games to none. Let’s talk about what went down.
We can’t even sugar coat this one. Game one of this series was a complete slaughter that was hard to watch as a fan. Right from the get-go, the Rays were all over everything pitched to them on the way to a 15 hit and 13 run effort.
Matt Harvey followed his previous start, when he allowed seven runs, by giving up six in this game, all within 1.2 innings. In the first and second innings, Brett Phillips and Austin Meadows both got a hold of a fastball by Harvey, and both were good for three RBI. This gave the Rays a 6-0 lead after just two innings.
Tyler Wells wouldn’t fare much better, allowing a home run of his own to Rays catcher, Mike Zunino. That added two more runs to make it a 8-0 game, and it was only the third inning.
The O’s finally got on the board in the third, when Austin Hays singled home Stevie Wilkerson. Not much, but better than nothing, as this run cut the deficit to 8-1.
The Birds made this an exciting game in the fourth by scoring three runs and cutting the Rays’ lead in half to 8-4. Newly recalled Stevie Wilkerson hit an RBI single that scored one run. Then Austin Hays recorded another RBI on a bases loaded ground out. That was followed by a Trey Mancini single that, again, scored Wilkerson, who went 2-for-4 in his return to the majors with two runs scored.
The Rays would end the Orioles’ hope of making this an actual game pretty quickly. Mike Zunino hit his second two-run shot of the night, this one off Travis Lakins Sr. Then in the sixth, Lakins Sr. allowed the Rays’ 11th run, this one from a single by UMD alumni, Brandon Lowe.
The Ray barrage finally ended in the eighth, after big man Ji-Man Choi blasted his first home run of the year to put the Rays up 13-4.
The Orioles added two runs at the end from DJ Stewart and Pat Valaika singles. However, the Orioles still lost 13-4.
The only good thing about this game is the Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game, Cole Sulser. Sulser tossed 1.2 innings with no hits against his former club. This brings his ERA to a 2.45, while his WHIP is still under one at 0.89
The second game of this series was an emotional roller coaster for O’s fans. With John Means on the mound, a low scoring game was expected. This was true, but as soon as he left, things went nuts.
To start, we just want to say that Trey Mancini is incredible. This time last year, he was battling cancer. Now, he took over the league lead in RBI with his eighth homer, this one giving the O’s a 1-0 lead in the first.
In the second, Freddy Galvis reached a milestone by smashing his 100th career home run! This solo shot put the Orioles up 2-0.
O’, he wasn’t done yet! Mancini came up with bases loaded in the second and scored everybody with his 10th double on the year. This was RBI numbers 35, 36, and 37 for Mancini. At the time, the game was blown open 5-0; however, it would not last.
2020 ALCS hero, Mike Brosseau, homered off Means to cut the Orioles’ lead to 5-2. Later in the inning, Randy Arozarena got a hold of one as well, making it a 5-3 game.
Towards the end of the fifth, Means took a 104 mph line drive off his back, and like the beast he is, stayed in the game.
Guess what? Trey did it again! He launched his ninth home run in the fifth inning of this game, doubling the Oriole lead over the Rays to 6-3. He is unstoppable!
After a double was let up by Means, Adam Plutko entered the game. Ji-Man Choi singled home the Rays’ fourth run, and then Arozarena homered once again. His two-run shot tied this game up at six.
Now in the eighth, things got away from the O’s. Choi singled home another run to go up 7-6, a wild pitch by Paul Fry scored another, and then Arozarena doubled home another run. This put the Rays up 9-6.
The Orioles had fight in them in the bottom of the ninth. With two men on, Pedro Severino sent a base hit to right field that scored a run. However, the Orioles couldn’t complete the comeback. They dropped this game 9-7 and took a series loss.
Paul Fry took the loss and moved to 0-1 on the year.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is easy today, Trey Mancini! “Boom Boom” went 4-for-5, including two home runs, a double, and a single, with five RBI.
Like game one, this game was a blowout from the start.
Dean Kremer took the mound for the O’s, and let’s just say he struggled mightily. He would only go three innings, giving up a solo shot to Joey Wendle and a three-run homer to, who else, Randy Arozarena.
Down 4-0 in the fourth, the only bright spot for the O’s, Trey Mancini, did it again! His solo shot cut the deficit to 4-1, but unfortunately that would be the only run scored in this one for the Birds.
Tampa Bay added to more in the sixth off Keegan Akin, as Ji-Man Choi hit an RBI single, and Brandon Lowe tallied a sac fly to make it a 6-1 ballgame.
The Rays would add four more to add to their lead and ultimately took this one 10-1. Hey, at least we got a Stevie Wilkerson pitching appearance!
Dean Kremer took the loss and moves to 0-4 on the season.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is once again Trey Mancini, who seemed to be the only good thing going for the O’s in this one with his solo homer.
The O’s are headed to the Nation’s Capital to play the Washington Nationals tomorrow night, in what is the start of a 10-game road trip. And, Anthony Santander will be back in the lineup!
What are your thoughts on this tough series? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!