Strong throw continues, as does struggling offense in defeat (Update)
DETROIT – Do you like to punch and attack? Boy, I don’t have a game for you.
The Orioles, without the prominent bats of Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle, fell to the Tigers 3-0 this afternoon. The two teams combined to form six double plays.
“Obviously it’s two huge losses, amazing hitters and guys you want in your lineup, but at the same time guys are falling on every team,” Trey Mancini said. “You have to fill the void and try to keep the line moving.”
Baltimore hit the ball hard, but straight at the defenders. Baseball, am I right?
According to Statcast, eight balls from the Orioles’ bat had an exit velocity of at least 100 mph. Despite only having four hits in the ball game, the O’s had four outs on live balls that had an expected batting average over .500. That includes two Trey Mancini steals to right field, which had an xBA of 0.840 and 0.770 respectively. Don’t let Trey buy your lottery ticket this year.
“Really frustrating, I think I hit them both well,” Mancini added. “Especially on opposite court balls this year, they just seem to die. I don’t know why… That’s how the game goes sometimes.”
The Tigers were forced into an unexpected game in the bullpen with only one out recorded in the top of the second inning. Ramón Urías drilled a 105.9 mph one-liner off starting pitcher Michael Pineda’s right hand, forcing an early out.
The Tigers bullpen entered Saturday’s game with a 2.88 ERA, good for third-best in Major League Baseball. They combined to pitch 7.2 innings, allowing just three hits and no earned runs.
Bruce Zimmermann continued to show off his newfound prowess in 2022. The southpaw allowed just two earned runs in more than six innings of work. An unearned run came in the second set, as a Jonathan Schoop brace turned into three goals on a Ryan McKenna error. A sacrificed fly made it 1-0 early.
“Bruce threw the ball extremely well. We went into the seventh inning, two earned runs, we just didn’t score,” Brandon Hyde said. “I just think he’s got a much better mix this year. Better change and he’s not working with people.”
“I’m pretty happy with the overall output,” adds Zimmermann. “Definitely a little higher in the zone at times compared to previous outings. I thought I had some good throws and the defense played well behind me with the double plays.”
Detroit wide receiver Eric Haase’s first hit came on a fielding single, which left his bat at 58.1 mph. His second hit went a little further than that, a solo home run that went 377 feet and doubled the Tigers’ lead to 2-0.
The solo home runs came to Zimmermann, who allowed another one to Willi Castro late in the seventh inning, knocking him out of the baseball game. The third time in the lineup again presented challenges for the southpaw.
“Still trying to figure that one out,” laughed Zimmerman. “That’s the name of the game being a starter in this league. Seventh is a bit of the monkey on my back right now, but I know I’ll get through it soon.”
Nonetheless, Zimmermann came out with the O’s firmly in the game. Three runs over six innings gives you a solid chance, which was the common theme in Detroit’s first two losses.
Overall, the O’s pitching staff did a good job of keeping Baltimore in the game. Jorge López also made his first appearance since May 9 against the Royals and ushered in a quick 1-2-3 inning with one strikeout.
The pitching staff allowed just seven total runs in the first two games of the series.
“These guys did an amazing job, I can’t say enough about the whole staff,” Mancini said. “Top down, these guys are going out there, attacking the area and keeping us in games.”
In a shocking turn of events, Miguel Cabrera posed the biggest threat. After a brace and a home run in Detroit’s win yesterday, Miggy went 2 for 3 with a walk and two singles.
The attack, once again, failed to deliver its end of the bargain.
In yesterday’s loss, the Orioles couldn’t take advantage of the golden opportunities they had. The Birds have charged in each of the last three innings, but have failed to capitalize on those opportunities. 14 runners were stuck on the base.
In today’s loss, those opportunities didn’t present themselves in the first place, despite good contact and hard ball striking.
Not having Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle in the lineup tends to have that impact. In the meantime, the all-around utility players will continue to bat. They’re going to have to step up in the absence of two of the club’s best hitters.
“Other guys have to step in,” Hyde said. “It’s a formation of 26 players, we are in the big leagues and we have to be able to hit.”