To start this week, the Orioles were scheduled to play their first home series of the season, but this home opener was special for a few reasons that stretched beyond the simple fact of it being the first games in Baltimore in 2022.
This season marks the 30th Anniversary of the best stadium in all of sports, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. That makes this opening series mean a ton more.
To add to that, the Orioles also got to unveil their new left field wall, which now makes Camden Yards a much more fair and balanced ball park than it was before, in terms of field dimensions.
Lastly, and I think this is the coolest part, the opening game of this series resulted in an Orioles win by the same score as the first home game in Camden Yards back in 1992. Back then, it was a 2-0 win over the Cleveland Indians, and this time, 30 years later, it was a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
Now that the fun stuff is out of the way, let’s get serious. This series was very hard to swallow.
Despite an exciting game one victory to open the home schedule, all three games featured a disturbing lack of offense that was saved by amazing pitching from the bullpen to make these games look slightly more bearable. Maybe besides one outing by Jorge López late in the series.
Let’s look at how this series went down:
The opening game at home this year was one to remember. The Orange Carpet ceremony was great as usual, and Cedric Mullins received his Silver Slugger Award.
The game had an attendance of 44,461, and the above picture during the game shows just that. Even though a lot of the upper deck seats were empty, the various concourses where the game is visible were incredibly crowded.
The last reason this home opener was very special was because Baltimore native and former O’s fan, Bruce Zimmermann, got the start in this game. And, boy, it was a great outing.
The Baltimore boy pitched four innings, while only allowing three hits and striking out four. He gave up no runs in his first start of the year, although he wasn’t eligible for the win.
The lone Oriole offense came from, you guessed it, Cedric Mullins. In the second inning with bases loaded, the Silver Slugger lined a ball into center, scoring Ramón Urías from third, while Jorge Mateo scored on a play from second no one else in the league is fast enough to make. This put the Birds up 2-0, and that’s all that was needed offensively.
Mike Baumann was amazing out of the bullpen. He pitched 2.1 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three, while hitting 98 mph on his fastball. Cionel Pérez, Dillon Tate and Jorge López sealed the deal with 3.2 innings of no-run ball.
The O’s won their home opener by a score of 2-0. Baumann would get the win out of the bullpen.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Bruce Zimmermann. It’s tough not giving it to Mullins, but Zimmermann really came out and set the tone for this game in front of his home city. It was a special moment to witness.
Much like game one, the offense was non-existent, except for Mullins. The pitching was also good like in game one, but it was costly mistakes that cost the O’s.
Behind Spenser Watkins, who got the spot start, Keegan Akin saved the game by completely shutting the Brewers down for 2.2 innings. That makes 5.2 scoreless innings out of the pen so far for Akin; it seems he may have found his place.
The only offense in this one was extremely exciting. Mullins, again, got the chance with the bases loaded, and he got every bit of a hanging breaking ball and sent it over the right-center wall. This was his first career grand slam, and it is one Mullins, nor the fans, will ever forget.
At this time in the second inning, it gave the Birds a 4-2 lead.
Watkins would allow his two other runs in the next inning, tying the ballgame at four. Only one of his four runs were earned. However, one of the runs scored due to a throwing error by Watkins himself.
The Brewers took the lead in the seventh, a run that is the first attributed to Felix Bautista, while Pérez was pitching in relief of him. This would be enough for the Brewers, as the O’s failed to capitalize on a bases loaded, no-out situation in the eighth.
Mullins then doubled to start the ninth on a ball that missed going over the right field fence by an inch. Instead of tying the game with that hit, he was stranded on second to end the game.
The Orioles lost this one, 5-4. Felix Bautista would take the loss.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Cedric Mullins. His monstrous grand slam provided all of the offense for the Orioles in exciting fashion.
The rubber match of this series was more of the same as game two. A valiant pitching effort was wiped away by a failure to hit with runners in scoring position.
John Means got the start and pitched well. He gave up just two runs in four innings, before being pulled with left forearm tightness.
Joey Krehbiel, Dillon Tate and, again, Bautista combined for four scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
Ryan Mountcastle came through with the only hit with runners in scoring position in the eighth. With bases loaded, he singled home Mateo. Trey Mancini then scored Ryan McKenna on a sacrifice fly to tie the game at two.
The O’s got the leadoff runner on base to start the ninth but went down in order following three walks.
The Birds lost, 5-4, and dropped this series, 2-1. Jorge López picks up the loss.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Dillon Tate, who pitched two scoreless innings of one-hit ball in relief.
What did you think of this series? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!
Like Justin’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @orioles4life96