Over Father’s Day weekend, the Baltimore Orioles came back home to face the Tampa Bay Rays, in what was sure to be an exciting AL East matchup.
Already in a large improvement from last season, when the O’s only beat the Rays once in 19 tries, the Birds look to continue to put themselves on the map with another series victory.
And put themselves on the map is what they did. The Birds bested the Rays in two out of three games and held their offense to just eight runs in the entire series.
The O’s played some really good baseball in these three games. Dean Kremer got all of that started in his game one outing, when he didn’t allow a run over six innings. He gave up five hits but struck out just as many batters.
Adley Rutschman and his defense kept this a win for the Orioles. First off, Adley delivered the game’s only RBI. Then later in that inning, he gunned down an attempted base stealer at second, who then would have scored on the base hit in the next at-bat.
With even more defense, Anthony Santander threw out the batter attempting to turn his single into a double to end that inning.
Throughout this series, the bullpen was electric as usual. Félix Bautista earned the win in his game one effort, while Nick Vespi earned the win out of the pen in game three.
Speaking of game three, and even game one, I have never seen a team play “Rays baseball” better than the Rays, themselves, specifically in game three.
The Orioles were forced to start Austin Voth as a bullpen game, then proceeded to hold the Rays to one run, while using seven different pitchers. The beauty of this is five of those seven pitchers were no-name waiver claims, who have become staples for the Orioles.
Possibly the best bullpen arm in the series was once again Jorge López, who continues to show he is a top closer in baseball, and this series proves that.
In his save efforts in games one and three, López entered in the eighth and delivered four-out saves in each game. He allowed just two hits between his 2.2 innings of work and struck out four batters.
Offensively, it was a slower series than the last in Toronto. However, it got the job done.
Game two featured much more offense in the losing effort. The Birds were down 6-2 before coming all the way back to tie the ballgame.
Santander, Robinson Chirinos and Ryan Mountcastle all had multi-hit games in this one. Chirinos, who caught in this game, had three hits and delivered four RBIs by himself. Have a day, Robbie!
Unfortunately, this one loss of the series came when Dillon Tate allowed the go-ahead run to score in the ninth inning.
The offense in game three was similar to that of game one, where they did just enough to let the bullpen win this game.
Santander had maybe the deepest home run from a Camden Yards’ right fielder in a long time. His solo shot and Cedric Mullins’ RBI double proved to be enough for the win.
Overall, this series is the epitome of “pitching and defense win ballgames.” We saw some amazing glove work from Jorge Mateo, which at this point is no surprise. Rougned Odor also flashed his leather in game three, and the heroics of Adley Rutschman in game one ended his day with his highest win probability added so far this season.
Bats like Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle cooled down a bit. However, other bats like Trey Mancini and Mullins picked them up.
Game one: Bal 1, TB 0
Game two: Bal 6, TB 7
Game three: Bal 2, TB 1
The Orioles see their next action Tuesday against their neighbors, the Washington Nationals. Game one of this two-game series begins Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. EST.
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