The Baltimore Orioles are making 2023 a season of excitement, nail-biting moments and a rush of emotions. Against the Chicago White Sox, things were no different as both the good and the bad were on display all series long.
From pitching to defensive miscues to missed opportunities on offense, there was frustration and moments of letdown. On offense, there was patience, comebacks and edge-of-your-seat at-bats.
After the Orioles took game one, they lost game two in a back and forth affair before stealing game three for the series win.
Game one saw one of the Orioles’ most reliable starters in Tyler Wells. The important thing for him, as well as other starters, was to pitch five innings or more to ease the burden on the bullpen.
Wells came out and pitched 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Two of those runs came in the sixth inning, as the Birds fell behind 3-0. The bullpen would follow, pitching 3.2 innings of one-hit ball, as Mike Baumann would pick up the victory and Félix Bautista the save.
On offense, Adley Rutschman continued to make his mark on the league, as he would hit a game-leading three-run double after a Cedric Mullins based loaded walk got the Birds on the board. The Orioles would take the game 6-3 for their fourth win in five games.
Game two was a little tougher to swallow. Kyle Gibson labored but gave the Birds 5.1 innings of work. Unfortunately, Gibson faced one batter too many, as with a 4-2 lead, he hung a breaking ball that became a game-tying two-run home run by Jake Burger.
From there, both teams traded runs until extra innings. In the top of the 10th, the Orioles would score on a fielder’s choice. But in the bottom half, the bullpen faltered as Logan Gillaspie allowed two runs to score and the White Sox to walk off with a 7-6 victory.
The Orioles walked 10 times, but they grounded into three double plays and were 1-for-3 with a runner on third with less than two outs. Jorge Mateo and Anthony Santander homered for the Birds in the loss.
Grayson Rodriguez took the bump for the Birds on Sunday. As excitement filled Birdland, Rodriguez came out and struggled, allowing four runs to put the Birds in an early 4-0 hole.
However, Rodriguez turned it on after that, as he settled in and didn’t allow a run for the remainder of his outing. He ended the day with five innings pitched, giving up the four earned runs on six hits, tallying eight strikeouts and allowing two walks.
With Dylan Cease on the mound, the White Sox got too comfortable, and the Orioles clawed their way back in the game. Behind Rodriguez shutting down the White Sox the next four innings, the Orioles used a Jorge Mateo sac fly and a Cedric Mullins triple to score three in the fourth.
A wild pitch allowed Gunnar Henderson to score, and then the Orioles opened the game up by scoring three times in the eighth, as Mullins, Mountcastle and Santander tallied RBIs to give the O’s a 7-4 lead.
Baumann, Voth and Félix Bautista shut down the Chi Sox the rest of the way, as the Orioles secured the 8-4 win and the series 2-1. Baumann went two strong innings and got the win (2-0 on the season).
The Birds walked 26 times for the series, and the bullpen, though they took the loss in game two, walked away with two victories and allowed only two earned runs across 11.1 innings of work (1.62 ERA).
For the series, the BATTERY ❌-FACTOR was the Orioles’ starting pitching. The main concern was the starters being able to pitch at least five innings and allow the bullpen some much-needed rest.
Between Wells, Gibson and Rodriguez, the starters pitched a combined 15.2 innings of work. Though they did not collect a decision in the series, they did allow the bullpen to see a little less action, which resulted in the Birds being able to walk away with a series victory.
It wasn’t easy, but the Orioles find themselves at 9-7 on the season with an off day on Monday. They will head to D.C. to face the Washington Nationals starting Tuesday night.
Get ready for the Battle of the Beltway. The Birds are taking off.
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