The new season has begun, and it’s already been stressful. The Orioles came up short in this series sweep from the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays, mainly due to an extreme lack of offense.
The Oriole bats could only muster up 21 hits in these three games and scored just four runs. Games one and two were both good games decided by one and two runs, respectively. There’s always a silver lining, and the Orioles bullpen was that in this series. A few new names shined out of the pen, and a couple returning players pitched well.
Here is a breakdown of what happened in this series:
John Means made his second consecutive Opening Day start for the Orioles, becoming just the 12th Orioles pitcher to make multiple Opening Day starts for the O’s since 1954.
Means pitched well in this game, keeping his offense within striking distance at all times. However, the offense never struck. Seven players had a single hit, but none amounted to any runs besides Anthony Santander’s solo home run in the sixth inning.
Behind Means, the bullpen pitched very well. Between newcomers Bryan Baker and Cionel Pérez, as well as Dillon Tate, Jorge López and Paul Fry, the bullpen combined for four innings, giving up just two hits and one run combined. The one run came from a sac fly off López in the eighth.
The offense couldn’t come back, and the Orioles lost, 2-1, on two sacrifice flys.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is John Means. Means threw four strong innings with five strikeouts against a top-five lineup, reminding fans why he is our ace.
The offense woke up a little more in this second game of three. Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander and Ramón Urías all notched two base hits. Trey Mancini and Jorge Mateo added a hit each; Mateo also stole a base.
Mountcastle launched his first of many home runs, and this one was a bomb. This two-run opposite-field shot in the third inning cut the Rays’ lead to 3-2.
Jordan Lyles made his first appearance as an Oriole, and it went as expected. He was able to eat up five innings, although he gave up five runs. When his day was done, the O’s were down 5-2, and Keegan Akin entered out of the pen.
Akin was very impressive, tossing three innings and allowing no runs. He struck out three and gave up just one hit, throwing 31 total pitches, 27 of them for strikes.
Mateo added a run on a double in the ninth inning, although the rally died after that. The O’s dropped game two, 5-3.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Ryan Mountcastle. Mountcastle’s two-run home run made this game a one-run affair, while he continues his hot start to the season.
Looking to avoid an opening series sweep, the Orioles sent Tyler Wells to the mound for his first career start. However, things didn’t go as planned, as Wells gave up four runs on three hits, all of which came in the second inning. Wells’ day was done after an inning and a third.
The offense was completely non-existent, netting just six base bits. Mountcastle had two of them, both coming off former Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber.
The bullpen again shined with great outings by Felix Bautista, Joey Krehbiel and Bryan Baker. That trio combined for 4.1 scoreless innings. Paul Fry then came in and allowed four more runs, one of which was credited to Baker.
The Orioles dropped game three by a score of, 8-0.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is again Ryan Mountcastle. Mountcastle has now hit in all three games, adding two more to his total in this one.
Rejoice, O’s fans! The Orioles are coming home, as the team has their home opener against the reigning N.L. Central Champions Milwaukee Brewers Monday afternoon, with pre-game festivities beginning at 2 p.m. EST and game time at 3 p.m. EST.
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