Orioles Striving for the Postseason
Just when we thought the Baltimore Orioles season had stepped into a pond of quicksand, instead it stepped on the backs of a depleted and tired reliever staff and, at least for now, is still upright and walking toward a possible postseason birth.
Over the past couple of weeks, the Orioles had lost six in a row. Their bats had gone to sleep and pitching had turned mediocre at best. But, this weekend, in a comeback style that marked the first third of the pandemic season, they produced two, come from behind wins that may have saved their unexpected season.
In the first, on Saturday against the Boston Red Sox, they were down 3-1 going into the eighth inning. The Orioles scored two in the bottom of the inning to tie the score. In extras, the Red Sox scored a run in the top of the 10th to take the lead. The Orioles then scored two in the bottom of the inning to walk off with the win.
The Orioles starter Alex Cobb struggled for five innings but hung in there giving up six hits and two runs. The beleaguered and wilted bullpen then went to work, Shawn Armstrong, Tanner Scott, Mychal Givens, Cole Sulser, and then finally Miguel Castro, who got the win, collectively gave up only two hits and only one run, to hold the Red Sox in place until Anthony Santander, who homered with one on in the eighth to tie the game, and company could spark the offense.
Ruiz Leads the Way on Sunday
On Sunday, the Orioles were down 1-0 until the third inning when they took a 3-1 lead. The Sox scored one in the sixth to bring them within one of tying the game, but the Orioles, offense, orchestrated by a 4 RBI day from Rio Ruiz, scored two in the bottom of the seventh to give them a three-run lead, which was enough to hold on for the win, despite the Red Sox scoring two in the top of the ninth. But the outcome of this game was again facilitated by the Orioles’ bullpen.
Relievers Preserve the Win
Wade LeBlanc started the game for the Orioles, but elbow discomfort forced him out of the game and was replaced by Thomas Eshelman, who had pitched in two of the previous three games. Eshelman, who got the win, pitched no-hit ball for four innings, then the worn bullpen of Miguel Castro, Paul Fry, Mychal Givens and Tanner Scott put on their blue-collar pants and threw five-hit ball down the stretch to preserve the win.
Akin and Kremer May Debut
Wade LeBlanc’s injury and playoff aspirations may open the door for Oriole prospects Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer. Akin in Double-A in 2018 was 14-7 with a 3.27 ERA. That year he struck out 142 and walked 58. In 2019 he pitched in Triple-A and was 6-7 with a 4.73 ERA, and about the same strikeout to walk ratio. The Orioles are hoping he continues to develop and gets back to his 2018 form.
Kremer in Double-A last year was 9-4 with a 2.98 ERA. In four seasons in the minors, he has maintained a 3.79 ERA. He may be seasoned for an opportunity in the bigs and may get his chance this summer.
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