Granted, the trip the Baltimore Orioles took to Chicago can’t be continued a total loss in the sense that they did in fact sweep the ChiSox. However yesterday afternoon the city of Chicago returned the favor in the form of it’s north side team completing the sweep of the Birds.
Miguel Gonzalez was called back up from the minors to make the start yesterday. (In a corresponding move, Cord Phelps was optioned to triple-A Norfolk.) Gonzalez’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K. Gonzalez pitched a great game, needless to say. However his mound opponent, former Orioles’ farmhand Tsuyioshi Wada, pitched just a bit better. Wada had a no-hitter going until the seventh inning. However I would submit that Wada only really did one thing better than Gonzalez last night/; he took advantage of the large strike zone. Home plate umpire Dan Iassongna has a reputation as being a pitcher’s umpire.
In effect, Wada pitched to what the zone actually was as opposed to Gonzalez who pitched to what he and most people thought the zone should have actually been. Wada also had some very striking late movement on his pitches, which seemed to fool Oriole hitters all day long. Having said that, Gonzalez kept Chicago bats at bay for most of the game as well. So in writing this I also want to be very clear in that the Orioles couldn’t have asked for more out of Gonzalez coming back to the big league level than what he gave them yesterday.
Chicago took a 1-0 lead in the fifth on an Alcantara solo homer, to which Rizzo would add an RBI-double in the last of the sixth. Steve Pearce would smack a homer into the left field grandstand in the seventh inning, which attests for the lone Oriole hit on the day. The fact is that the Orioles’ achilles heel has been afternoon games, and games against pitchers and teams against whom they have little to no history. So this series fit the bill for the Orioles to be swept. All in all, this is the first losing road trip for this team on the season, and it’s the first time they’ve been swept since playing Detroit in May.
The prevailing sentiment among fans seems to be that this team has seen the wind leave it’s sails with the Manny Machado news coming own the wire over the weekend. The loss of Machado makes the road a lot tougher for sure. But keep in mind that the O’s do have a winning record without Machado in the lineup this year. Furthermore, even if they don’t make a deal this week for some infield help, rosters will expand one week from today and they’ll be able to bring some guys up from the minors to help as well.
The Birds begin a four-game series at home tonight against Tampa. They’ll look for Chris Tillman to be their stopper in order to halt this sudden three-game losing streak. Tillman will be opposed by Tampas’s Jake Odorizzi.