Baltimore Orioles vs Cleveland Guardians series review

Adley Rutschman and Josh Naylor each had a big series for their respective teams
Adley Rutschman and Josh Naylor each had a big series for their respective teams / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Coming off of an incredible road trip that saw the Baltimore Orioles go 5-1 against division rivals Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees, the Orioles returned home to close out the month of May. Unfortunately, the Birds were not able to finish the month on that same high not.

Overall the month of May was very successful for the Orioles, going 16-12 against the top teams in baseball. The O's did win all three series' they played against division foes taking two out of three games from the Tampa Bay Rays earlier in the month.

Baltimore Orioles lose series to Cleveland Guardians at home

The Orioles started the homestand by dropping two out of three against the Texas Rangers and looked to rebound against a struggling Cleveland Guardians team. But anyone who watched the series would have guessed it was the Orioles who were struggling.

Game one of the series saw the Orioles get shut out by Guardians rookie Logan Allen. Allen only allowed three hits in 7.0 innings while striking out a career best 10 batters. Tyler Wells also pitched a quality game yielding one run through six innings while striking out seven Guardians hitters. The only Oriole who made a notable contribution offensively was Anthony Santander, who had three of the five Orioles hits in the game. The big inning came in the seventh when Cionel Perez allowed four earned runs in 0.1 innings.

The biggest blow came in the bottom of the eighth inning when star centerfielder Cedric Mullins came up lame while attempting to beat out a ground ball. Mullins was removed from the game and later diagnosed with a right abductor/groin strain. Mullins has since been placed on the IL and will be out for an extended period of time.

Game two saw a bit more fireworks with the Orioles getting the win 8-5. The O's bats woke up and put seven runs on the board in the first two innings against Guardians starter Cal Quantrill. The Orioles knocked Quantrill out of the game in the fifth inning when they scored their eighth run of the game, giving them a commanding 8-1 lead at the time.

Kyle Gibson started for the Birds and looked to be cruising through the first five innings, only allowing one run. Gibson ran into trouble in the sixth and allowed two more runs. Bryan Baker closed out the sixth for Gibson but ran into his own trouble in the seventh, allowing two more runs without recording an out in the inning. Danny Coulombe came in and limited the damage before Brandon Hyde called upon Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista to close out the game.

Game three was a roller coaster ride of very good hitting and very poor pitching. The Orioles used seven pitchers in a bullpen game, the first five of which allowed at least one run. Keegan Akin got the start as the opener and allowed one run in the first. Austin Voth came in as the long man in the second inning and had his only clean inning.

The game turned in favor of the O's as they managed to put four runs on the board in the second inning against former Cy Young winner Shane Bieber. Then the pitching wheels fell off. Voth combined with Perez, Mychal Givens and Mike Baumann to allow 12 runs. The Orioles offense fought valiantly to keep up, even retaking the lead in the fourth inning on a Santander two run homer, but the pitching could not hold on. The Orioles lost the game 12-8 and the series 2-1.

One bright spot in the game was the debut of the newest Oriole Aaron Hicks. Hicks went 2-2 with a walk and two runs scored before leaving the game early with cramps. Hicks was brought in to help fill the void left by Mullins and fortunately, it doesn't look like Hicks will miss much time if any.

After giving up 22 runs to baseball's 29th ranked offense, the Orioles front office has some decisions to make. Cionel Perez was tremendous in 2022 but has struggled this season and has already allowed more earned runs in 2023 than he did all of last year. Voth has also struggled as of late. Nick Vespi and Joey Krehbiel are both pitching well for the Norfolk Tides and could replace Perez and Voth. Cole Irvin has also pitched very well for the last month in Norfolk, and after his start on May 31, he would be in line to start on normal rest the next time the hole in the Orioles rotation appears.

The Orioles have a much needed day off before heading out west to face the San Francisco Giants. The Birds are young and will struggle at times. After passing the test of playing a very difficult schedule in May, we will see how this young team faces the adversity of injuries and pitching woes. But you know what they say; You can't clip these wings.