The Orioles played their first series of this West Coast road trip, this one against the Oakland Athletics. Despite nearly anything good in terms of baseball being traded away from Oakland in the off-season, as well as a chink of their lineup being placed on the COVID IL before this series, the Orioles still could only muster out one win.
At the end of the day, this was an incredibly frustrating series that shows not only that the offense is just inept, but it’s also incredibly unlucky. In game one alone, the Orioles had five plus batted balls that exceeded 100 mph off the bat that resulted in outs. That’s rough.
Still though, the pitching remained fantastic. They allowed 12 runs in these four games, which if you’re decent at math, you know that’s a measly three runs scored a game. That’s exactly what you want your pitching staff to be able to do.
Let’s get right into it. This is how this four-game series went down:
Game 1: Baltimore 1, Oakland 5
Spenser Watkins took the mound in game one, and he shut up a lot of fans after his abysmal first start. In this one, Watkins lasted five innings, allowing just one run on two hits.
The only run scored on Watkins came in the first inning on a groundout. After the first, Watkins was unhittable.
The Birds tied this one when Austin Hays hit his third double that was nearly caught on a diving play by right fielder Seth Brown. The ball bounced off the glove, and Rougned Odor was able to score.
Things got away in the sixth inning. An extremely routine play was botched by Ramón Urías at third when he couldn’t get the throw barely half way to first. That error scored a run, and instead of ending the inning scoreless, the A’s rallied for another run.
Following the one earned run of the inning, Odor added to the error total, botching yet another routine play at second. The A’s scored their third run of the inning on another play that should have retired the side. Christian Pache then added another run and gave the A’s a 5-1 lead.
The O’s offense had no business orchestrating a four-run comeback and dropped game one, 5-1. On the bright side, Keegan Akin tossed another two scoreless innings out of the pen, which raised his season total to 7.2 innings of scoreless pitching.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Spenser Watkins. His five-inning start was a beauty, albeit ruined by poor defense after his departure.
Game 2: Baltimore 1, Oakland 2
In another beautifully pitched game, the Oriole offense refused to offer any support, a trend we are tired of seeing already.
Chris Ellis received the call from Triple-A Norfolk to pitch in the place of the injured John Means. It was a fantastic start for Ellis, again silencing Oriole fans like Watkins did a night prior.
Ellis did walk three over 4.1 innings, however, he did not let the A’s score. He went into his outing with a 1-0 lead, after Trey Mancini brought home a run on a groundout in the first. This was the first time the O’s scored in the first inning this year.
The only runs the A’s would score came in the sixth against Mike Baumann. With two on, Baumann let up a double that plated both base runners and gave the A’s a 2-0 lead.
Despite two scoreless innings from Felix Bautista and Cionel Pérez, the offense was unable to come back. The Birds dropped game two, 2-1.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Chris Ellis. Ellis delivered a great start on short notice, which kept his team with the lead at the time of his departure.
Game 3: Baltimore 1, Oakland 0
For the third time already this season, the O’s pitching shutout their opponent. In 2021, the O’s only totaled five shutouts all year; this third one this season came in game 12.
Starter Jordan Lyles once again delivered a fantastic start for the Birds. He didn’t allow a run and gave up five hits over five innings and struck out six.
In Oriole fashion, the Birds scored their one run of this game without hitting with RISP. Instead, it came via an error by A’s shortstop Elvus Andrus. Ryan McKenna was able to score on a ground ball by Kelvin Gutierrez, and the O’s led 1-0 in the fifth inning.
The bullpen was equally as electric in this game, including scoreless efforts from Paul Fry, Dillon Tate, Bryan Baker and Jorge López.
López closed out this one with a 1.2-inning save. He struck out three of the five outs he recorded and looked like he was not going to be touched. The movement on his pitches was absolutely incredible.
The Birds took game three by a score of 1-0.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is, again, the starter, Jordan Lyles. Lyles tossed another gem as a part of what is right now the best starting rotation in the AL. Yes, you read that correctly.
Game 4: Baltimore 4, Oakland 6
With a chance to end this series in a draw, the O’s sent Tyler Wells to the mound. It was a rough day for Wells, who was pulled after just two runs allowed through 2.1 innings.
Down 2-0 in the third, Hays doubled for the fourth time this year and cut the A’s lead to 2-1.
Akin and Tate would allow their first runs of the season, both giving up two in this one.
Following a two-run homer allowed by Akin, Odor would then cut the A’s lead in half. He delivered his second RBI of the year on a line drive single that scored McKenna. The A’s now led 4-2.
Hays then cut the lead to 4-3 in that same seventh inning with an RBI single. The red hot Hays scored Ryan Mountcastle and brought the Birds within one run.
Tate allowed his two runs in the bottom of the seventh, essentially ending this one.
With the A’s up 6-3, the Birds did fight in the eighth. McKenna brought home Cedric Mullins on a sacrifice fly and cut the lead down to 6-4.
Unfortunately, the Orioles would fight no more and lose this one, 6-4.
The Baltimore Battery’s Player of the Game is Austin Hays. Hays went 2-for-4 with RBIs on both his double and single. This was half of the Orioles’ offense in this game.
The Orioles are heading south for a three-game weekend series against the reigning AL MVP, Shohei Ohtani, and the Los Angeles Angels. Keep an eye out for our Series Preview coming out later tonight.
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