Contributor Jesse Morrison was at all three games between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Baltimore Orioles. Here are his observations from three days at Chase Field.
The Baltimore Orioles three-game set with the Arizona Diamondbacks was an up and down series where the O’s showed flashes of positivity but were ultimately overmatched by a much better Arizona team.
After splitting a series against the Washington Nationals and taking two of three from the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles dropped their first series since July 12-14 when they lost three of four to Tampa Bay. After not winning a series for months, the small stretch of success should be celebrated, however, things are likely to quickly get back to normal for Baltimore.
Contributor Jesse Morrison was in attendance for all three games against Arizona and provided some of his thoughts and observations after spending three days sitting at Chase Field watching the Birds.
In Monday’s game, the Orioles defense and starting pitching were atrocious as Aaron Brooks gave up five earned runs in just 3 2/3 innings. The D-Backs were propelled to a 6-3 victory behind Adam Jones’ three-hit day in his first game against his former team. The O’s did show some resiliency as Hanser Alberto and Renato Núñez hit home runs in the fifth inning to bring the game within three, definitely a positive sign. It is good to see a team this bad not just quit on a game that was already out of reach. It is a testament to Brandon Hyde and what he’s been able to do with this team in 2019.
Tuesday’s game was all Orioles. Nuñez hit another bomb and Anthony Santander was 2-4 with a home run as the Orioles cruised to a 7-2 win. The big story, however, was the performance of Dylan Bundy. Bundy was great in five out of his six innings of work, striking out five batters as he won his fifth game of the season. A negative of the game was the performance of Chris Davis with the bat. He had a golden sombrero as he struck out four times and looked lost.
In Wednesday’s game, the Orioles kept putting runners on base but could not capitalize as they dropped the rubber match 5-2. The Orioles left 10 runners on base in the game and could not capitalize on multiple bases-loaded situations and two on with no outs in the top of the ninth. John Means surprisingly struggled as he gave up three runs in only 3 1/3 innings pitched, throwing 95 pitches. Chris Davis struck out three more times.
My observations of the series are pretty obvious if you have paid attention to the Orioles this year. The Orioles defense needs to improve. Monday and Wednesday featured especially bad fielding from the Orioles as they had three errors combined between those days and multiple other questionable defensive plays.
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The pitching staff needs to go deeper into games. Starters Aaron Brooks and John Means were less than stellar. The two combined to go just seven innings and quickly racked up high pitch counts, leading to their early departures. However, the bullpen was successful as it did not give up a run in the series until the sixth inning of Wednesday’s game which is a positive as just one pitcher used in the series, Tanner Scott, has an ERA under 5.00. In 12 total innings of work in this series, the bullpen allowed just two runs.
Chris Davis may have hit a new low in this series striking out eight of the nine times he was up to bat. It is much worse watching him in person than on television. He looks lost and does not look like he really is trying to change much about his swing or stance. He just seems to expect different results with the same approach. It is the definition of insanity. He did make a nice double play in the Tuesday game so at least something positive came out of the series.
John Means may be coming back to down to Earth a bit. Since the All-Star game, he has not been the same with two out of three starts not going in his favor. Through the entire month of July, Means is 1-2 with a 5.24 ERA in four starts, allowing six home runs in 22.1 innings of work. It will be interesting to see how he does the rest of the season.
Anthony Santander is coming alive for the Orioles. He upped his average to .299 from .291 in the series, 5-13 with two home runs and a double as he continues to prove himself at the big league level.
Yet another observation I made was the Orioles still have enthusiastic fans who love watching the team, despite the losing season. Chase Field was packed with orange all three games with a good amount of the fans having traveled from Maryland or somewhere else outside of Arizona to see their team.
The Orioles continue their west coast trip with a four-game set against Mike Trout and Los Angeles Angels who find themselves just four games out of an America League Wild Card spot.