In the rubber match between the Baltimore Orioles and the Washington Nationals on Sunday afternoon, the Nationals eked out a win.
Even though the Baltimore Orioles didn’t take the final series, they did end up winning four of the six games to take the unofficial title of MASN Cup champions.
And that, dear reader, is good news.
It’s tough for any player to get anything a strikeout from Max Scherzer pitches, but the Orioles put up four runs on the three-time Cy Young winner. And in true Scherzer fashion, he struck out 10 batters. (He’s recorded three games with double-digit strikeouts in 2020 alone).
Big Hits Against the Future HOF Pitcher
But, the Orioles did figure out how to hit the future Hall of Famer. The first big hit came off of a Anthony Santander home run in the first inning. Like many top pitchers, the first inning is the time for batters to strike. Unfortunately, Scherzer kept the Orioles quiet for the next four innings.
Then in the sixth, the bats heated up and Scherzer cooled down. With Rio Ruiz and Chance Sisco on base, Pedro Severino got into one on a 2-0 count and went yard. The wild pitch that advanced the runners didn’t matter much after the scorched line drive to left field. After a few swear words by Scherzer, he finished the inning and returned for the seventh.
And, that was when Santander got another chance to show him who owns Camden Yards. His second home run of the night went to right field and tied the game at five runs each. By the time the night was over, Santander was 2-4 with two RBI and eight total bases. Severino was 3-4 with six RBI and six bases.
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Fun While It Lasted
The tie was fun while it lasted. The final run of the game came on a throwing error that scored Juan Soto in the eighth. The sixth run was all the Nats needed to take this series and final meeting between the nearby teams.
Sadly, the afternoon game was a bust for John Means who could not make it out of the first inning. He gave up three runs in the first inning before being replaced by newly acquired Jorge Lopez who slowed the Nats down and quickly got the final out of the inning. Lopez pitched three more innings, but did give up two more runs before the rest of the bullpen finished the game.
Notable Orioles Stats
This loss puts the Orioles in third in the AL East with a 12-9 record. The Yankees are still at the top, and the Rays are in second with a 14-9 record. But, despite the loss, the Orioles showed that they can compete against the best. Putting up five runs against Scherzer is not an easy task.
In an added note, according to Baseball Reference’s Playoff Odds page, the Orioles have a 50.7% chance of making the 2020 playoffs.
A few notable team stats for the better-than-expected Orioles:
- The second-place team batting average is currently .265, one tick behind the AL-leading Yankees at .266.
- The Birds slid down to third in the MLB with 46 doubles, behind the Rays 47 and the Braves 48.
- The Orioles have the most hits in the AL with 191.
- The Orioles and Blue Jays are tied for second with the least amount of GIDP in the AL with 10. The Twins lead with 7.
- The Orioles four sac flies lead the AL, showing proof of situational hitting.
- The Birds are at the top of the AL with 191 home runs.
A Bird with a Batting Title?
And in the race for the RBI title, Anthony Santander sits alone at the top of the AL with 22 RBI. He’s tied with NL-leading Charlie Blackmon. But, Nelson Cruz and Fernando Tatis, Jr are close on his heels with 21. If you’ve made it this far, enjoy the video of Santander working on the 2020 RBI title with his game-tying home run off Scherzer:
This was the first series loss since the Marlins were in town at the beginning of August. The Orioles have a chance to start a new win streak as they welcome the Blue Jays to Camden Yards for a three-game series.
Alex Cobb will toe the rubber for the Orioles against Hyun Jin Ryu. Both pitchers are 1-1 in 2020, and very few batters on both squads have faced either pitcher. It could be a fun night in Birdland with the game starting at 7:35 ET. Catch on your favorite channel.