Pitcher John Means has the opportunity to make his first career start (after working out of the bullpen to this point) for the Baltimore Orioles this evening. They say that stats don’t lie, but I would submit that in this case perhaps they do. I felt that Means pitched well tonight, making perhaps one bad pitch. Yet his stat line indicates the exact opposite. Means’ line: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 5 R (1 earned), 1 BB, 1 K.
Means fell victim to the 2018 Orioles’ fate, one that’s shared by the 2014 Orioles (in the ALCS) as well. Oakland found ways to get on base with softly hit balls, plus a little bit of luck. Or bad luck, from Means’ standpoint. And again similar to 2018, the main rally began with two outs.
Means issued one walk in the first inning, but got out without any damage. Again, for the most part he was pitching well. Perhaps one of the two mistakes Means made was not covering first on a grounder to the first baseman Ruiz. A softly hit grounder, which turned into an infield single. A swinging bunt and another infield hit later, and the bases were loaded…with two outs.
Profar would come to the plate, and send a soft grounder to the hole at short. The Orioles never had a shot at it, and a run scored. But it was only one. No big deal, right?
Not exactly. A Hanser Alberto throwing error scored another run. Incidentally that error came on yet another softly hit ball in the infield. John Means induced a lot of infield ground balls, which is the goal. It just didn’t work out in his favor.
But following that second run Semien would smack a three-run homer, on the only other mistake that Means made. Well after Means had been sent to the showers Profar would also smack a solo home run. So to that point Oakland hit exactly two balls hard, and they had six runs. Very similar to what we saw last year.
Pedro Severino would get the Orioles on the board in the last of the seventh with a two-RBI double. However Oakland would put four runs back up in the eighth, putting the game out of hand at 10-2. Oakland would plate three more after a balk in the ninth to run it to 13-2.
For what it’s worth, that four-run eighth inning rally did in fact feature plenty of hard-hit balls. But that doesn’t help John Means, who as I said was in line to pitch a good game. He was just unlucky. Five runs, one earned is all you need to know.
The Orioles also has to send starter Alex Cobb and reliever Nate Karns to the Injured List before the game. Both were surprises, and both are on the 10-day IL. Cobb was to start tomorrow night, however it’s assumed that whomever is called up will make the start.
So the series with Oakland will continue tomorrow night at Camden Yards. The Orioles are still to announce a starter, but whomever he is will be opposed by Oakland’s Frankie Montas. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.