DETROIT, MI – After getting swept by the Kansas City Royals this past weekend, the Orioles were looking for something positive to end their road trip. Instead, they encountered even more pitching issues and only managed to take one out of three in Detroit.
Even the highlight of this series didn’t come without its own set of struggles, as the Orioles barely survived Tuesday night’s 13-11, extra inning win. Due to an abysmal bullpen performance, Chris Davis was forced to play hero twice, launching go-ahead home runs in the 12th and 13th innings.
Wednesday night’s game saw both teams trading runs back and forth. The Orioles struck first with a run in the second but Detroit was quick to respond with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. A Mark Trumbo double gave the Birds a two-run lead in the fifth, but once again the Tigers came right back. A two-run homer from Tyler Collins secured the win for Detroit.
Thursday afternoon’s rubber match wasn’t looking too good for the Orioles, as Manny Machado found himself out of the lineup with a sore finger. However, the O’s looked set to fix their pitching woes as Dylan Bundy took the mound. The young starter looked solid early on, but things quickly fell apart when he gave up three runs in the bottom of the third, bringing Detroit right back into the game.
The struggles continued for Bundy in the fifth when he gave up three more runs, and the lead. Seth Smith was able to start a comeback with a solo shot in the seventh, but the rally stopped there as the Detroit bullpen closed out another one-run win.
The Orioles have now lost six of their last seven games, each by just one run. This has led fans to point their blame in one direction; the pitching staff. All three Orioles starters struggled to get through five or six innings while giving up a combined 15 runs over the series. The bullpen surrendered seven runs of their own, resulting in an uphill battle for the offense throughout all three games.
Buck Showalter commented on the tough road trip after Thursdays game. “Yeah, it seems like every time we do some things offensively, we go out there and kind of give it back up.” The Orioles manager went on to mention the lack of shutdown innings and the pressure that was placed on the offense. “It seems like we’re always trying to dig ourselves out of a hole.”
To the offense’s credit, they were able to keep themselves in every game with consistent run production, but ultimately fell short on Wednesday and Thursday. Davis went 5/13 with six RBI’s in the series, while Adam Jones went 6/16 with two RBI’s of his own. Seeing these and many other impressive hitting performances wasted has been hard to watch over the past two weeks.
The Birds will return home tomorrow night for a weekend series against the Blue Jays. Needless to say, these matchups will continue to be important as the Orioles look to bounce back and regain control in the division.
Note: Blue Jays outfielder, Kevin Pillar, will be absent from the first game of the series while he serves a suspension for the events that transpired during this week’s series against the Braves.