Game 71 – Baltimore Orioles (37-34) 2 Tampa Bay Rays (28-45) 0 F
W: Kevin Gausman (3-1, 2.74)
L: Alex Cobb (2-5, 3.48)
S: Zach Britton (9, 0.72)
MVP: Steve Pearce (second game in a rown) – 2-4, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB, Outfield assist at second base for a double play
The GOOD: Everything. Let’s start with the pitching. Kevin Gausman started out in a real jam. A walk, a hit and an error and the bases were loaded. With no outs. In the first inning. How many runs did Tampa score? Zero.
Gausman would go on to have five more good innings after that, not walking anyone else and only leaving up four more hits, while striking out five. At this point, Gausman is certainly not going anywhere except cementing his role in the rotation.
Out of the bullpen came Tommy Hunter to protect a one-run lead, and that was also cause for concern. But Hunter mowed down six straight, bridging the gap from the ‘Gasman’ to Zach Britton.
And Britton continued his excellence. Britton sent the Rays 3-4-5 hitters down like there was nothing to it. His ERA is a crazy 0.72, good for first in the AL. Closest to him is Koji, at 0.83. Koji also is only six saves ahead of Britton at this point.
As far as hitting, the O’s got two hits from J.J. Hardy and Steve Pearce. Pearce had two doubles and the first RBI and continues to show his value as a starting pitcher.
Nelson Cruz also clubbed his 22nd home run on the season, which continues to lead the majors despite it being 15 days since his last home run.
And a pretty good day for birthday boy Caleb Joseph as well. Joseph continues to show his worth as a catcher, and his ability to work with the pitchers is very good. Joseph stopped almost everything thrown his direction by three guys who aren’t always the easiest to handle. Joseph had a hit in the game as well.
The BAD: Nothing…ok well J.J. Hardy made another error. All of last year, J.J. only had 12 errors. J.J. has seven errors in his last 15 games. Not exactly what the O’s and their fans have come to expect from their Gold Glove short stop.
What’s NEXT: The scheduling gods of MLB shined down on the O’s for once. They will likely land in New York tonight before the Yankees even finish their game against first-place Toronto. Then, the Yankees play the Jays again tomorrow evening as well. The O’s will send Ubaldo Jimenez (2-8, 4.86) to the mound on Friday, and he has some pretty bad numbers against the Yankees. The O’s are expected to face Hiroki Kuroda on Friday, although the Yankees haven’t announced their starter yet. Kuroda is 4-5 with a 4.32 hitter. Two pitchers that their teams hoped for much more from will square off in the first game of the series, which will have at least second place in the AL East on the line.