Series Recap: Orioles continue to struggle against Wild Card competition

BALTIMORE — The Orioles endured a 10-game west coast trip without picking up a win. They failed to turn things around over the weekend, dropping two of three to the Los Angeles Angels.

This series went exactly like Baltimore’s previous series in Seattle. Baltimore won the first game, but lost the final two. Out of their last six games, the O’s won two.

The starting pitching struggled all weekend. Jeremy Hellickson and Kevin Gausman, starters on Friday and Saturday, did not get out of the fifth inning. Chris Tillman got a spot start on Sunday, and went the longest out of the three, 5.1 innings. In their three starts, the trio allowed 16 earned runs on 18 hits. Hellickson and Tillman combined for 10 walks.

Game one: Orioles 9, Angels 7 — The Orioles got lucky on Friday when Manny Machado went off. Machado went 3-for-5 at the plate, smacking three home runs for seven RBI. Machado became the hero in the ninth inning with his one-out, walk-off grand slam. Machado hit two grand slams over the west coast trip, giving him three grand slams in the past 13 games.

As you’ll see in the second video, the pie returned after Machado’s heroics.

Machado played an incredible game on Friday night, but he went 3-for-8 with no RBI the rest of the weekend.

Mark Trumbo and Caleb Joseph joined Machado on Friday night with home runs of their own.

Making his first MLB start since April 2016 (Tommy John surgery) Angels pitcher Andrew  Heaney struggled. In five innings (82 pitches/57 strikes), Heaney allowed five earned runs on seven hits. He tallied five strikeouts, but still needs time to become the pitcher of old. The Orioles can relate to a struggling pitcher coming back from injury, like they’ve seen with Tillman this season.

Game two: Angels 5, Orioles 1 — On Saturday night, the Orioles celebrated the 25th anniversary of Camden Yards. The 1992 team, the first to ever play at the historic ballpark, got honored before the game. Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Mussina, Brady Anderson, and Glenn Davis waved to the fans.

The positive vibes did not last long due to Gausman’s bad start, but the Orioles showed some promise early on.

Following a Mike Trout home run in the first inning, the Orioles responded. Tim Beckham got the inning started with a leadoff double. Machado moved Beckham over via single, and Beckham ended up scoring on a wild pitch thrown by J.C. Ramirez during a Jonathan School at-bat.

The scoring play occurred for Baltimore even retired their first batter. After that, the Birds failed to get on the board for the rest of the game.

Trout went on to homer again, and Luis Valbuena also hit two long balls in the game. Gausman fell victim to all four of them.

The two home runs hit by Trout on Saturday gave him three home runs over the first two games. He did not record a hit or an RBI on Sunday.

Game 3: Angels 5, Orioles 4 — The Angels struck early on a second inning solo home run by Kyle Calhoun. In the third, Albert Pujols doubled LA’s lead on an RBI single that brought Ben Revere home. In the bottom of the third, Chris Davis scorched his 19th homer of 2017 to left-center. That would mark the first of two times in the game where the Orioles closed the gap with a tie.

Tillman did toss the longest start of the weekend with 5.1 innings on 99 pitches, but he walked six. After three innings, Tillman already threw 54 pitches. The Baltimore rotation has struggled with pitch counts all season. Sunday’s game displays a perfect example of those issues.

Perhaps Buck Showalter made a miscue by sending Tillman out for the sixth inning. After recording the first out on a Pujols lineout, Calhoun walked. Andrelton Simmons smoked his 13th home run of the season to left field, extending LA’s lead. The next batter, Luis Valbuena, walked, ending Tillman’s day.

Baltimore put together another comeback effort in the bottom of the sixth when Schoop singled to left-center, scoring both Caleb Joseph and Beckham. Trumbo continued the rally, scoring Schoop on a double. With their first series win in two weeks on the line, the Orioles needed to push one more run across, and prevent Trout and the Angels to come back.

Another score never came for Baltimore. It did for Los Angeles. In the eighth inning, Calhoun walked with Brad Brach pitching. Valbuena would also walk after the first out got recorded. With two out, Cameron Maybin got Calhoun home on an RBI single to right field.

That fifth run became all the Angels needed to put away the Orioles. Former Oriole Bud Norris made his second appearance in the series and reached his 20th save. In his two appearances in this series against his former ball club, he did not allow a run and struck out four.

Former Oriole Parker Bridwell went five innings for LA, giving up four runs (two earned) on six hits, a walk, and three strikeouts. In 12 innings against his former ball club this month, Bridwell five runs (three earned) with 12 hits and seven strikeouts.

The loss drops the Orioles (60-64) to four games below .500 for the first time since July 30. The O’s now find themselves four games back in the AL Wild Card race.

Up next: The Orioles remain at home to face another west-coast team, the Oakland Athletics. As of 6:15 EST on Sunday, Oakland (54-70) still sit in last place in the AL West with the second-worst record in the AL.

Image Credit: Carroll County Times 

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