The Baltimore Orioles offense ran into some struggles in their series loss to the Chicago White Sox, particularly against left-handed pitching.
The Orioles (47-37) lost games 1 and 3 against a Chicago team that finds themselves in last place in the AL Central at 34-48. That did not stop the ChiSox from giving the Birds everything they could handle and more, striking down the normally potent Baltimore offense and limiting them to 8 runs over the 3 game span.
Game 1 saw the O’s send Jason Hammel to the mound against Jon Danks. While Baltimore got on the board first with a Brian Roberts homerun (1), Danks would keep them guessing most of the night, only allowing 7 baserunners in 7+ innings. The O’s would add a second run in the 8th inning, an RBI single from Adam Jones, but by then the damage had been done by the White Sox hitters. Hammel gave up 5 runs over 7 innings, including two homeruns from Conor Gillaspie (6) and Adam Dunn (22). Addison Reed picked up his 22nd save of the season in the 9th.
In game 2, the O’s lone victory of the series, they got to face another lefty in Hector Santiago, and got another spectacular game from potential MVP candidate 1B Chris Davis. He smashed his 32nd homerun of the year in the 4th inning, and later broke up a 2-2 tie in the 8th inning with a 2 RBI double. Besides Davis however, the offense once again sputtered against a LHP. Scott Feldman made his Baltimore Orioles debut, and pitched well, only allowing 6 hits and 2 earned runs over 6 innings. He also did not walk a single batter he faced. Jim Johnson decided to make in interesting in the 9th inning (once again), giving up base hits to Gillaspie and Jeff Keppinger, but got pinch hitter Jordan Danks to ground out to end the game and record save number 29.
Game 3 was tight pitching duel throughout, seeing neither team score until the 6th inning. The White Sox got the first two runs of the game off of O’s starter Zach Britton with RBI singles from Alex Rios and Dunn. Overall, though, Britton pitched a very solid game, going 7 innings and only giving up the two aforementioned runs. He kept his team in it long enough for the offense to put some runs on the board in the 8th, after Chicago starter Jose Quintana (yep, another lefty) completely shut them down for 7 innings, only letting 3 batters reach base. RBI from Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis tied the game at 2, where it stayed until the bottom of the 9th, when Dunn smashed a walk-off shot (23) off of O’s reliever Tommy Hunter. Dunn entered the game 0-5 against Hunter with 3 Ks, which is why Baltimore skipper Buck Showalter stuck with him instead of bringing in LHP Brian Matusz.
On the horizon
The offense was kept off-balance all series, as they were frustrated by the constant barrage of lefty pitching coming from Chicago. They became impatient and swung at pitches they normally lay off of. Hopefully this is just a blip on the rader for the O’s, as their much-maligned pitching staff actually gave them some decent starts and showed signs of improvement. In any case, it might not be a bad idea for the O’s to look for a right-handed DH to add to their lineup, especially with the trade deadline looming, in case they ever run into a trio of southpaws like they did this week.
The Orioles will now take a visit to the Bronx to tangle with the New York Yankees for 3 games. The series begins tonight at 7:05 ET on MLB Network, with Miguel Gonzales(6-3, 3.77) on the bump for Baltimore facing off against Ivan Nova (2-2, 4.63). Baltimore has taken 6 0f 9 games against the Bombers this year, including 5 in a row.