Baltimore Orioles lose a heart breaker to open the second half

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 14: Mark Trumbo
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 14: Mark Trumbo /

The Baltimore Orioles came back with a vengeance to open the second half of the season, but their return just wasn’t enough.

The Baltimore Orioles started the fourth inning trailing the Chicago Cubs 8-1, but managed to come back to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.

But, the Cubs scored the go-ahead run in the ninth when Addison Russell hit a home run off of Brad Brach.

Despite the late game home run, the story of the game was twofold: the bullpen and the offense. After the Cubs took batting practice off of Matt Gausman, the bullpen came in and held the World Series champs to one run in the last six innings of the game.

Gausman’s final line in three innings was quite disappointing. He gave up seven hits and eight runs. Four of those runs were of the home run variety. He walked one batter and struck out five. He faced17 batters in his three innings of work. The first two home runs came in the first innings from Willson Contreras and Kyle Schwarber. Ben Zobrist homered in the second and Jason Heyward went yard in the third. Schwarber’s was the only one that was a solo shot. The rest all were hit with runners on base.

BALTIMORE, MD – JULY 14: Catcher Welington Castillo
BALTIMORE, MD – JULY 14: Catcher Welington Castillo /

Fortunately, two of the Birds went yard today, too. Welington Castillo hit a solo shot in the bottom of the third and Mark Trumbo hit one out with Jonathan Schoop on base to tie the game. Offensively, nearly every Orioles player contributed. Only one player did not reach first base safely; Johnny Giavotella came in as a pinch hitter for Ruben Tejada and struck out to end the game. Adam Jones did not get a hit but reached first after being hit by a pitch in the third inning.

The fact that the entire team contributed offensively is a good sign. Even though the Cubs have a 44-45 record, they are still the reigning World Series champs and the team has several of the same pieces. Other than the home runs allowed by Gausman and Brach, the Cubs saw very little action on the bases. In fact, the O’s bullpen only allowed four base runners in the final six innings. Only 2 Cubs were walked and 11 of them were struck out. The same cannot be said for the Cubs’ pitchers who walked seven Birds and struck out eight.

While this loss was one of the more painful of the season, the team showed serious tenacity. The offense took charge and fought back from a seven-run deficit to tie the game. The bullpen stopped the bleeding that the starting pitching caused. And, Chris Davis made it back into the lineup going one for five with a RBI. Offensively, Trumbo put on a show by batting 1.000 with two walks, a home run, and three RBIs.

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There were two questionable decisions at the managerial end of things. The first was leaving Matt Gausman in the game too long. The second was putting Giavotella in as a pinch hitter against Wade Davis in the bottom of the ninth.

Buck Showalter most likely put Giavotella into face Davis because of his history going 3 for 5 with a triple against Davis. But, the kid is only batting .143 with an OBP that is the same. There was no way that he was going to get a hit off of Davis. The All-Star closer already had his way with Castillo and Joey Rickard. Davis just gets better as the inning progresses – the first batter of the inning usually has the best chance of getting a hit.

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The next game is Saturday with a start time of 7:05. The Cubs bring Jake Arrieta (4.35 ERA) to the mound to face Wade Miley (4.97 ERA). With continued tenacity, the Orioles should be able to get a win off of Arrieta.