Coming into this weekends series all eyes were on the Indians and there impressive win streak. The Orioles, on the other hand, were in a much more uncomfortable situation. As the final month of the season gets underway the Orioles find themselves playing playoff caliber games almost every night.
When you have at least four or five teams fighting for one wildcard spot, there is no room for error. That’s why it’s unfortunate that the O’s had to run into a buzz saw this weekend. The Indians completed a three game sweep against the O’s to extend their win streak to 18. This puts them just two games shy of tying the 2006 Athletics 20 game win streak.
Edwin Encarnacion put the Indians on the board in the first inning of Fridays series opener. With two runners on base, the Indians designated hitter got a hold of a low pitch by Wade Miley and launched a three run homer to deep center. Miley surrendered one more run on a ground rule double before being chased out of the game in the sixth inning.
The Orioles offense was completely shut down by Mike Clevinger and the Cleveland bullpen. Clevinger tossed six innings in his start, giving up just three hits and striking out seven. Three Cleveland relievers entered the game and gave up just one combined hit as the Indians picked up a 5-0 win.
The Orioles were able to get on the board early in game two after getting shutout the night before. Trey Mancini brought Manny Machado home with an RBI infield hit but the offense was unable to get some consistent run production. The O’s were held scoreless until the sixth inning when Tim Beckham hit a solo home run but that would be the last run the Orioles scored.
The Orioles gave Gabriel Ynoa the opportunity to start in game two but the 24-year-old pitcher did not fare as well as he would have liked. In his second start of the season Ynoa gave up three runs in just 4.2 innings of work. Darren O’Day gave up another run when he entered the game in the seventh, capping off a 4-2 loss.
Facing a sweep and potential embarrassment on national TV, the Orioles arguably played their best game of the series but still came up short and got swept by a red-hot Cleveland team.
It was a pitchers duel through the first five innings as Jeremy Hellickson and Trevor Bauer retired batters left and right. Bauer racked up seven strikeouts through 6.1 innings of work while Hellickson retired 15 batters in a row through the earlier innings.
The pitching duel ended in the sixth inning as the Indians finally got to Hellickson and took a 3-1 lead with back-to-back homers. The O’s starter was able to finish the inning but his night would end sooner than he would have liked.
In the seventh Chris Davis put an end to Bauer’s night by hitting a solo homer to left field. The home run cut the lead to just one and gave the Orioles a little more hope entering the final innings. However, the dominate Indians bullpen did what they do best and shutdown the O’s the rest of the way. Terry Francona used four different relievers to close out Sundays game and not one of them allowed a base runner.
The next challenge facing this Orioles team will be another AL East opponent. After splitting a four game series against Toronto last week, the Orioles will travel north of the border on Monday for a rematch. This will be the final meeting between the O’s and Jays in 2017.
Image Credit: Washington Post