Kyle Vladish’s three home runs and another brilliant start gave the Orioles a 3-0 victory in Cleveland Thursday night to clinch the series and dominate the AL Wild Card race.
Bradish is the star here. The rookie right-hander has had a roller coaster season, from his dizzying heights in St. Louis to the terrifying stretch that followed. He has looked like a different pitcher since returning to the active roster, and these last two starting pitchers of his were worlds apart.
The 25-year-old shut out eight innings in Houston last week and had seven more zeros in Cleveland. Hitting his stride when the Orioles needed it most is an amazing turnaround for a young pitcher.
Vladish needed help from his defense, especially Gunnar Henderson. got a double play And I created a nice dive stop to keep the pitcher from getting stuck. But this wasn’t a particularly stressful outing for Bradish. He threw only 94 pitches. He only allowed two hits. Most of the contacts he allowed were weak, and as a result his three walks were easy enough to avoid.
And the bullpen was unlit in the back. Sionel Perez needed just 12 pitches to pitch a clean eighth inning, striking out two in the process. Felix Bautista got a little rowdy and walked out, but words of encouragement from Rougund Odor and the rest of the infield seemed to calm him down, and he closed things out from there.
There wasn’t much to note about O’s aggressive side. He was a homer in all three. Cedric Mullins hit the first pitch of the game out to hit a home run to right field. Anthony Santander then hit his own first-pitch homer in the same inning. Then Ryan Mountcastle delivered the final blow.
The lineup combined four other hits that were all singles. Odor had two, Henderson had one, and Ramon Urías had his last one. Odo and Henderson also each swiped the bag, the first of Henderson’s big league career.
There were a lot of strikeouts from the Orioles offense, 13 to be exact. Debutante Jesús Aguilar and rookie Telim Bavra each scored his three strikeouts. But that’s life for Shane Bieber, one of the best pitchers in baseball. No shame there. Of course, it might mean Kyle Stowers will get an at-bat soon, but that might not be such a bad thing either.
It was one of those games where the team wasn’t firing accurately on all cylinders—three runs aren’t usually enough to win a game. Especially when the defense also made two errors he made. However, O’s pitching his staff picked everyone else up and paved the way for victory. The Orioles need to do it a few more times to seriously push for the playoffs.
Speaking of which, it was a light night for scoreboard watchers. The only relevant team in action was the Mariners. They beat the Tigers his 7–0 and tied with the Rays for the top wild card spot. O’s win put him 1.5 games back from an idle Blue Jays for his spot in the final playoffs in the AL.
The Orioles welcome the Oakland Athletics to a three-game set at Camden Yards starting tomorrow night. Every game counts this time of year, but any non-sweep game will disappoint. The A stinks and got slapped by the Nationals this week. Game 1 he starts at 7:05 with Dean Kremer on the mound.
Who played the most at Birdland on September 1st?
Kyle Vladish (7 shutout wins)
Gunnar Henderson (defense, hair)
Cedric Mullins (leadoff homer)
Rougned Odor (2 hits to calm Bautista)
824 total votes