Breaking down the Orioles’ four-game stand against the Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Game 1: 5-2 loss on Monday night (June 1)
Game 2: 6-4 loss on Tuesday night (June 2)
Game 3: 3-1 loss on Wednesday night (June 3)
Game 4: 3-2 win on Thursday afternoon (June 4)
What I liked:
1. Adam Jones in Games 3 and 4 – Jones went 5-for-8, blasting a triple in Game 3 and a tie-breaking go-ahead solo homer in the top of the eighth of Game 4. The homer was his just his second since April 19 and helped to snap a five-game losing streak. Jones had an outstanding April and then terrible May. The O’s need him to get going in June.
2. The bullpen after Game 1 – Brad Brach was charged with three runs in the Astros’ four-run seventh on Monday night. But Orioles relievers combined to allow one run and record 12 strikeouts in seven innings over the final three games of the series. Chaz Roe recorded three strikeouts over two scoreless innings in Game 2. Tommy Hunter recorded two strikeouts over 1 1/3 perfect innings in Game 3. Zach Britton recorded three strikeouts over 1 2/3 perfect innings in Game 4.
3. Ubaldo Jimenez’s start in Game 1 – Ubaldo, coming off two lackluster outings, allowed two runs in six innings, recording eight strikeouts and giving up just four hits, two walks and a hit-by-pitch. He now has a 3.12 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 10 starts in what remains a quality bounce-back season.
4. Miguel Gonzalez’s start in Game 3 – Gonzalez recorded eight strikeouts and allowed four hits and no walks in 6 2/3 innings. The problem? Three of the four hits were solo homers.
5. Wei-Yin Chen’s start in Game 4 – Chen allowed two runs in 6 1/3 innings, recording nine strikeouts (his most in a game since Sept. 2013).
What I didn’t like:
1. The offense – The O’s totaled just 10 runs, batted just .203 (26-for-128) and worked just six walks in the series.
2. Mike Wright’s start in Game 2 – Wright allowed five runs in five innings, giving up eight hits (including two homers). The bloom may be off the Wright rose, as he now has allowed eight runs in 10 innings over his last two starts off tossing 14 1/3 scoreless innings over his first two major-league starts.
3. The fall of Alejandro De Aza – The O’s traded De Aza and cash considerations to Boston for minor-league pitcher Joe Gunkel on Wednesday off having designated De Aza for assignment on May 27.
De Aza was expected to be if not an every-day player this season then at least someone who got a lot of playing time. The O’s acquired him from the White Sox via trade last August, and he posted a 143 OPS+ over 20 games with the O’s. He then delivered during the postseason, going 7-for-21 with a walk (three of the seven hits were doubles). But De Aza had an on-base percentage of just .277 over 30 games with the O’s this season. And they have other outfield options in Delmon Young, Travis Snider and David Lough.