BOSTON — 16 games into the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season, the Baltimore Orioles are off to their worst start since the 2010 season. That year, the Birds went 2-16 through their first 18 games. After getting swept by the American League East-leading Red Sox this weekend, the Birds own a 5-11 record with the worst run differential in the AL (-35).
Game 1 (7-3 BOS): Chris Tillman struggled mightily, again in his third start of the season. Tillman lasted just two innings, allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks. He allowed four runs in the first inning, three coming off a three-run home run by Eduardo Nunez. Mookie Betts hit an RBI double in the second inning. After two consecutive singles in the third inning, Tillman hit Jackie Bradley Jr., and Buck Showalter had seen enough. Tillman got pulled after throwing 57 pitches, 31 for strikes.
Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo picked up the slack for Tillman, pitching two innings of relief and allowing one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Manny Machado hit a double in the seventh inning that scored two runs.
Game 2 (10-3 BOS): Saturday was supposed to be a positive day for the Orioles, as Alex Cobb made his debut in a Baltimore uniform. However, Saturday was anything but positive for the Birds.
In the hours leading up to Saturday’s game, the Orioles announced that second baseman Jonathan Schoop would be placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right oblique strain. Schoop apparently suffered the injury while taking a swing during Friday’s game. The ensuing roster move was Cobb’s activation.
As a result of Schoop’s injury, the Orioles shifted Tim Beckham over to second base, and started Danny Valencia at third base. With a new team and unfamiliar infield behind him, Cobb got rocked. In the first inning, Andrew Benintendi got the rally started with an RBI double that scored Betts, who had to leave the game after scoring due to a foot contusion. After that, Hanley Ramirez hit his third home run of the season to give Boston the quick 3-0 advantage. In the third inning, J.D. Martinez hit his third homer of the season to extend Boston’s lead to four.
In the fourth inning, things only got worse for Cobb. Benintendi hit a single that scored two runs, and then Ramirez doubled to score Benintendi. It was here that Showalter decided to pull Cobb after 79 pitches, 49 for strikes. His first stat line as an Oriole read 3.2 innings, with eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and one walk.
Game 3 (3-1 BOS): The Orioles struck out 14 times in what was their fifth game scoring one run or less this season. That lone run came in the first inning on a double by Machado. Two of Baltimore’s three hits on Sunday came in the first inning.
Once again, the Orioles failed to get Dylan Bundy any run support. Bundy dazzled again in his fourth start this season, going 5.2 innings and allowing three runs (one earned) off seven hits, two walks, and six strikeouts. In the fifth inning, Benintendi hit a triple that scored Bradley Jr. A wild pitch would score another Boston run in the sixth inning, with the last run coming on a ground-rule double by Tzu-Wei Lin.
After Bundy’s exit, Richard Bleier threw the final 2.1 innings, allowing three hits with two strikeouts.
Following the conclusion of Sunday’s game, it was announced that Monday’s Patriot Day series finale would be postponed due to inclement weather. The O’s and Red Sox will make up the game on May 17, which will stretch a three-game weekend series to four games at Fenway Park.
Up next: The Orioles now have an off-day on Monday before heading to Detroit to face the Tigers in a three-game series at Tiger Stadium. The Tigers own a 4-9 record so far this season, good for fourth place in the AL Central. The Tigers were supposed to play three games against the Yankees this weekend, but only played one due to weather. That game occurred on Friday, where the Yankees topped the Tigers 8-6.
Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s games will begin at 6:40 pm, with the Thursday series finale starting at 1:10 pm.
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