BALTIMORE — Despite enduring a freezing cold four-game series in New York that saw two contests go 12 innings or more, along with Mike Wright Jr.‘s complete flop on Sunday, the Baltimore Orioles found a way to take three games from the Yankees in the Bronx. After going 2-8 at Yankee Stadium in 2017 and beginning the 2018 campaign 1-5, this weekend lifted the spirits in the locker room and gave the O’s some much-needed confidence. The Yankees bolster one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. Even though the pitching struggled at times, the bats finally came alive. For the first time in a long time, we saw the Orioles display that “never-die” attitude which has been a key characteristic of many Buck Showalter ball clubs through the years.
The Orioles return to Baltimore with a 4-6 record as the 6-4 Toronto Blue Jays come to town for more American League East action. The O’s are 1-2 at home this season after losing their opening series to the Twins. Toronto opened up the 2018 season with seven games at home – splitting a four-game series with the Yankees and taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox. The Blue Jays, currently on their first road trip of the 2018 season, took two of three from the Texas Rangers over the weekend. Many baseball pundits projected both the Orioles and the Blue Jays to finish in the bottom of the AL East this season, but Toronto has impressed early on.
Bullpen support on the way? With Friday’s game going 14 innings and Sunday’s thriller reaching 12 frames, the Orioles’ bullpen worked over 25 innings against the Yankees. Five different relievers threw at least 49 pitches over the four-game stretch. Richard Bleier stepped up big time, throwing 4.4 combined innings over the final three games (72 pitches). Miguel Castro (61 pitches) and Pedro Araujo (60 pitches) both tossed 4.1 combined innings, with their most recent appearances falling on Sunday.
Jimmy Yacabonis and Tanner Scott also made their Orioles debuts this weekend. Yacabonis appeared in Saturday’s 8-3 loss, giving up three earned runs on two hits and two walks in the seventh inning (27 pitches). Scott appeared in Sunday’s 8-7 win, going 1.2 innings and allowing one earned run on two hits and a walk with a strikeout (32 pitches).
Following his Saturday debut, the Orioles optioned Yacabonis back to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday. As of this writing, Scott remains on the roster, but ensuing roster moves could come later today to sure up a bullpen with several tired arms.
The Orioles will hope for Monday’s starter, Dylan Bundy, to eat up as many innings as possible. The good news for Baltimore is that Bundy has been by far the O’s best starter this season, as the right-hander has only allowed one earned run in 13 innings in his two starts.
Game times and pitching matchups:
Up next: The Orioles pack their bags for another seven-game road trip. Following an off-day on Thursday (Apr. 12), The Birds will play four games in Boston and three games in Detroit.
Image Credit: Toronto Star