BALTIMORE — Tim Beckham‘s stint with the Orioles will not extend to a week until tomorrow, but he’s making a big impact.
In 24 at-bats with the Orioles, Beckham owns 14 hits, three doubles, a triple, three home runs, and six RBI. From Thursday to Saturday, Beckham homered in three straight games for the first time in his career.
On Saturday night, Beckham became entrenched in Orioles franchise history. In the eighth inning of Saturday’s 5-2 win over Detroit, Beckham smacked a home run to center field. This solo bomb marked two milestones in Orioles history. Beckham’s home run signalized the 10,000th home run in Orioles franchise history, and the 2,500th Oriole home run hit at Camden Yards.
Sunday brought a 12-3 lopsided win for the Birds. Manny Machado and Joey Rickard both tallied four hits, but Machado collected five RBI. Machado hit an RBI double in the second inning, a two-run home run in the fourth inning, and a two-RBI single in the eighth inning. Had Machado reached third via triple, he would have become the first Orioles player to hit for the cycle since Felix Pie did it in 2009.
Rickard’s four hits resulted in just one RBI; a solo home run in the fourth inning. Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis, and Trey Mancini also homered, giving the O’s five different players that hit the long ball on Sunday.
Ubaldo Jimenez looked sharp again on Sunday. In 5.2 innings, he permitted just one run on nine hits, three walks, and six strikeouts. In his last four starts, Jimenez allowed just four runs with 26 strikeouts. He should no longer own the “weakest link” title in Baltimore’s rotation.
Also on Sunday, Beckham chalked up another hit. Beckham successfully hit safely in his six Orioles appearances so far. Before the trade, Beckham did not record a hit in three straight games with the Rays.
Orioles fans witnessed many fine moments in the final two games of the series, but the first two games did not go well. Detroit entered Baltimore eight games below .500, and the O’s just got done sweeping a red-hot Royals team. The Orioles, one game below .500, tried to make their record a winning one. The series ended, and the Orioles’ situation remains the same.
Over the first two games, the Tigers defeated the Orioles, 7-5 and 5-2. On Thursday, Chris Tillman endured another horrible start. He authorized all seven of Detroit’s runs (five earned) on six hits, two walks, and a strikeout. Tillman encountered two innings on 64 pitches. Amazingly, this did not represent Tillman’s shortest outing of the season. In a 16-3 loss on June 7, Tillman lasted 1.1 innings against the Yankees.
Tillman’s 8.10 ERA earns him a spot in the Orioles’ bullpen. The move, made official on Saturday, shrinks Baltimore’s rotation back down to five. Jeremy Hellickson‘s arrival expanded the rotation to six, but Tillman’s ineffectiveness leaves no reason to continue using a six-man starting pitching staff.
Tillman’s bad start on Thursday left a sour taste in the mouths of Orioles fans, but Friday’s 5-2 loss arguably tasted worse. Kevin Gausman turned in another great start for the Orioles. In seven innings, Gausman limited the Tigers to one run on three hits and a walk. Gausman struck out eight Detroit batters. When he left the game, the Orioles led 2-1 off solo home runs by Machado and Beckham.
Gausman has been dominant recently. In his last four starts, he allowed just two runs and racked up 32 strikeouts. His shortest outing in that stretch spanned six innings. He went 8.2 innings on July 29 at Texas,.
Michael Givens relieved Gausman in the eighth inning. James McCann and Jose Iglesias started the inning off with singles off Givens. Following a fielder’s choice, Jim Adduci walked to load the bases. Justin Upton appointed himself the hero for Detroit with a grand slam that marked his 20th home run of the season.
After losing the lead, the Orioles went 1-2-3 in their two final offensive innings. The loss gave the Tigers a 2-0 edge halfway through the series, but luckily the O’s made up ground with wins on Saturday and Sunday. After sweeping Kansas City, a series loss to a sub-.500 team like the Tigers would sting. A split, although not extremely satisfying, minimizes the damage of a potentially-disasterous weekend.
Detroit wins the season series, 4-3.
Coming out of the weekend, the Orioles (55-56) still found themselves in fourth place in the American League East, two games back in the AL Wild Card Race. The team now faces a 10-game road trip to the West Coast. The Angels and the Orioles share the same record, the Athletics sport the second-worst record in the AL, and the Mariners sit just two games above .500.
Road trips, especially to the other side of the country, are never easy, but since the All-Star Break the O’s hold .500 record on the road. The Orioles don’t need to go 10-0 on this road trip. Coming out of it with a record above .500 would raise faith not only in the clubhouse, but in the fanbase too.
Image Credit: Camden Chat