The Baltimore Orioles were upposed to be the sure victory for opponents, be out of any contention by the end of April and be lucky to win close to 60 games this season.
A funny thing happened on the way to the ballpark this year, and in the dead of summer, the Orioles are turning the baseball world upside down.
The AL East has a different team in the cellar this year, the Boston Red Sox, and the Orioles are currently 27-29 against the AL East after taking two of three against Boston.
To say things are different would be an understatement at best. The Orioles have 63 victories on the season, most predicted 58 at best.
They have a +11 run differential, and the biggest shock, they are only 2.5 games back from the third AL Wild Card spot.
Against the Red Sox, who have struggled to a 16-32 record against the AL East, the Orioles showed off their power, their pitching, their defense and most of all, their moxy. In winning the series, the Birds are now 7-5 on the season against Boston.
Game one was a slugfest that the Orioles took full advantage of. The O’s would take a 3-2 lead off a Jorge Mateo, the series’ star, three-run homer in the bottom of the second.
Home runs from Adley Rutschman, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and Ramón Urías aided in a barrage of hits that saw seven Orioles register at least two hits and three Orioles collect three hits.
Nick Vespi continued his winning streak, picking up his fifth win, as the Orioles won 15-10. The Orioles’ 15 runs was a season-high.
Game two saw the Orioles lose 4-3 to the Red Sox. The game was a pitchers duel, as the first run wasn’t scored until the fifth inning, with Boston scoring another two runs in the sixth inning.
Though Kyle Bradish (1-5) took the loss with 5.2 innings and three runs allowed, it was his fifth straight start of allowing three runs or less.
Rookie Kyle Stowers would add two RBI ground outs in the later innings, and Mateo tripled and scored on a wild pitch, for all the Orioles’ offense.
Game three was the Little League Classic, which saw the two teams close the series in Williamsport, PA, in front of the Little League World Series teams.
After a day of fun, the Orioles used that experience to have some more fun and just embrace the kid in them.
Another strong start by Dean Kremer was the key in this one. Pitching 5.1 innings and allowing only one run, Kremer set the Orioles up in prime position to take this one.
The Orioles scored two runs in the first, as Santander and Urías had RBI singles to put the Birds on top early.
In the eighth, the Red Sox tied it off a home run, but Mateo came through again in the bottom of the inning to collect the game-winning three-run double.
Mateo stood out this series, as he was 5-for-13 (.385 BA) with a home run, a double and a triple. He scored three runs, collecting six RBIs, and was a difference-maker in the series.
The Red Sox scored a run in the ninth, but Félix Bautista closed the door, picking up his eighth save and assuring the Orioles would not lose 100 games this season.
The Baltimore Battery ❌-FACTOR this series was the O’s outfield and their ability to get back to their usual output.
After hitting .129 their previous four games coming into the series, they would hit a collective 10-for-34 (.294 average) during this series with Boston.
They would collect four doubles out of the 10 hits, scoring seven runs and driving in four. They also collected four walks across the series.
The Orioles have a much-needed day off before welcoming the Chicago White Sox to town. The teams are separated by one game in the AL Wild Card standings, so playoff fever will continue to surround Baltimore.
What do you think of this series win against the Red Sox? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SrHeckman