Baltimore Orioles vs Cincinnati Reds review: The future is now

Lots of exciting young talent was on display for the Orioles and Reds in a three game series
Jordan Westburg made his major league debut against the Reds
Jordan Westburg made his major league debut against the Reds / G Fiume/GettyImages

Two of baseball's most promising teams went head-to-head in a three-game series with some of the future's brightest stars. The Baltimore Orioles were able to trot out two former #1 overall prospects in Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, while Jordan Westburg, the current #33 overall prospect, made his debut. The Reds leaned on star rookies Elly De La Cruz, Spencer Steer and Matt Mclain offensively while rookie Andrew Abbott pitched a gem in game two of the series.

Baltimore Orioles drop series to Cincinnati Reds at home

Both teams are full of young stars on the current roster and in their farm systems. Three years ago, I predicted that the Orioles would be the 2024 World Series champions. I hold true to that prediction with the talent the Birds currently have in the majors and minors. The Reds appear to be on a similar trajectory and this series could have been the beginning of a post season rivalry.

Game 1: Orioles 10 - 3 Reds

The Orioles began the series on the right foot with an explosive 10-3 win. Cole Irvin started the game and after giving up a run in the first inning, appeared to settle in. He was cruising through three innings when the skies opened up and a rain delay forced him to exit the game. The Orioles scored two runs before the rain came, then added two more after the delay. Bruce Zimmermann pitched the next three innings while the O's extended their lead with three runs in the fifth. Three more runs in the seventh capped the scoring for the Birds.

The big story from game one was the major league debut of Jordan Westburg. Westburg came to the Orioles as an accomplished hitter, and he put that ability on display. Westburg went down 0-2 in his first at-bat before working a walk off Reds starter Brandon Williamson. Westburg later came around to score his first major league run on an Austin Hays single. In his second at-bat Westburg was able to put the bat on the ball when he smoked a shot towards third base with one out and the bases loaded. De La Cruz made a nice play to handle the hard hit ball and got the force out at second.

Westburg, hustling all the way, was able to beat out the throw, earning him his first career RBI. Westburg's hustle also helped to force an error on the play, allowing another run to score and extend the Orioles lead to 4-1. In his third at-bat, Westburg finally had the moment that every little kid dreams of when he flared a shot to left field for his first career big league hit.

Westburg finished the night 1-4 with a walk, run scored, RBI and a nice defensive play from his second base position to top it all off. While he mostly played shortstop in the minors, Westburg also has plenty of experience at second base, and some at third base and both corner outfield spots. Overall, it was a great night for the Orioles.

Game 2: Orioles 1 - 3 Reds

Game two was a complete reversal for the Orioles bats. Reds rookie Andrew Abbott looked like a future ace when he baffled Orioles hitters for 6.0 innings, only allowing one run on two hits. The Birds kept fighting and had a chance to tie the game at two in the seventh inning but failed to convert. The Reds got an insurance run in the eighth when TJ Friedl homered off of Bryan Baker. The Orioles again brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning when Ryan O'Hearn was hit by a pitch followed by Adam Frazier drawing a walk, but Hays lined out to end the game.

Jordan Westburg against shined offensively with his first multi hit game finishing 2-3 with a walk. Westburg also had his first mid game position change as he moved from second base to third base after Frazier pinch hit for Jorge Mateo.

Tyler Wells started the game for the Birds and had another strong outing. Wells pitched 6.0 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits for another quality start. The biggest knock against Wells is that he did allow another home run, this one two Reds rookie Matt McLain. Even though he pitched well, Wells took the loss as the O's were not able to give him enough run support.

Game 3: Orioles 7 - 11 Reds (10 innings)

Kyle Gibson got the start for game three and received plenty of run support. Unfortunately, he put up a dud of a start. Gibson faced eight batters in the first inning and allowed three runs. The Orioles bats rallied behind their veteran leader and scored four runs in the bottom of the inning while sending 10 batters to the plate, highlighted by Gunnar Henderson's three run triple. Gibson was just not able to get the Reds out and he allowed another three runs in the second inning. Even though neither pitcher lasted five innings, they both settled in, and the next five and a half innings were a pitcher's duel, aided by the bullpens.

Cincinnati was able to push another run across the plate in the top of the eighth to make the score 7-3, but we all know there's no quit in these Birds. The O's scored three in the bottom half of the eighth, including a two run Adam Bomb from Adam Frazier to tie the score.

After Felix Bautista shut down the Reds in the ninth inning, the Orioles were unable to bring home a win in the bottom of the ninth. Keegan Akin came in the pitch the top of the tenth and melted down. Akin allowed a triple, home run and a double to three of the first four hitters he faced. He also allowed a run to score on a wild pitch before getting his second strikeout of the inning. After walking a batter Akin was replaced by Bruce Zimmermann who struck out Reds legend Joey Votto to end the inning.

The Orioles were not able to score any runs in the bottom of the tenth and the Reds took the win and the series. Even though the Birds didn't win the series, we all got a glimpse of what the future holds. The Orioles currently have seven players in the top 100 prospects, along with the players currently on the roster and Grayson Rodriguez.

The Reds, who are in first place in the NL Central, currently have six players in the top 100 prospects with plenty of star power on the current roster. These two teams have the top two overall prospects in Jackson Holliday and Elly De La Cruz. There's a solid chance that these two teams will meet in the World Series in the near future. Hopefully it will turn out like the 1970 series that saw the Orioles beat the Reds 4-1.