Orioles must change offensive approach to end losing ways

The Baltimore Orioles (17-41) enter the week of Jun. 4 with the worst record in the Majors. Losers of seven straight games, the 2018 season is already over. Now over two months into the season, Orioles ownership faces a cloud of uncertainty with the contracts of both general manger Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter expiring after the season. That’s not a good situation for a team like the Orioles who sit 22.5 games out of first place in the American League East.

Whether Duquette sticks around or leaves town following the 2018 season, the Orioles’ offensive approach needs to change in order for the team to find success again. Since Duquette arrived in Baltimore, the Orioles have relied on lineups full of power bats to carry the team via the long ball. From 2012-17, the Orioles finished in the top 3 in home runs, and they led the major leagues in 2013, 2014, and 2016. Also in that time span, Baltimore finished within the top 10 in strikeouts three times. So far this season, the Orioles rank fifth in strikeouts (523) and 14’th in home runs (65). They’re also 27’th in walks taken (159), 27’th in average (.230) and 29’th in both on-base percentage (OBP) (.293) & runs scored (210).

While these stats span just over two months total, it’s not hard to figure out that these numbers do not point to a successful offense. While ranking 14’th in home runs still puts the Orioles in the middle of the pack, they’re not scoring enough runs, not getting on base enough, and they’re striking out at an alarming rate.

Currently, only four regular starters in the Orioles lineup – Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Trey Mancini, and Mark Trumbo – own OBP’s above .300. This means that over half of Baltimore’s lineup is failing to reach base in seven-of-10 at-bats. Guys like Jones and Trumbo have done all they can to carry the offense, but even they carry free-swinging power bats who will see large strikeout totals when the 2018 season comes to a close.

Easily, the biggest disappointment for the Orioles dates back to the 2016 offseason, and that’s Chris Davis. Since signing a seven-year, $161 million deal in the winter preceding the 2016 season, Davis has hit an alarming .196 with 68 home runs and 487 strikeouts. Things seem to be hitting rock-bottom this season with Davis hitting .152 with just four home runs. Davis has hit at least 21 home runs in seven of 11 seasons, but he’s on pace to finish 2018 with 12 home runs (and about 219 strikeouts).

One factor playing into the declining offensive numbers has to be age. The Orioles are a veteran-heavy team with Jones, Davis, and Trumbo all at the age of 32. Pedro Alvarez, who’s been playing fairly often in the DH spot, is 31. Jonathan Schoop and Mancini are both 26, and Machado turns 26 on Jul. 6. When Davis, Jones, and Trumbo were in their late 20’s, relying on the home run got the Orioles by. Now, a lot of these guys are well above 30 and have started to decline. None of them will admit to it, but the Orioles are a veteran team in need of a turnover that includes plenty of youth.

This should not come as a surprise, but the Red Sox (40-19), Yankees (37-17), Astros (37-23), and Braves (34-24) are the highest scorers of the 2018 season to date. Boston, Atlanta and Houston make up the top three teams in hits while the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros hold the top three spots in RBI. Meanwhile, the Rangers (25-36), Padres (26-34), Giants (28-30) and Orioles make up four of the top five teams in strikeouts this season, with third-place Philadelphia (31-25) being an exception. The stats don’t lie. Teams that hit consistently, score runs and play small ball see success more often than not. Home runs will only get you so far, and strikeouts are the killer.

The scary part about this situation is that the Orioles’ front office appears to be very naive to the issue with no real drive to change the offensive approach. Despite a plethora of designated hitter, power bat types already on the roster (in the forms of Davis, Trumbo and Alvarez), Duquette recently expressed interest in 34-year-old free agent Hanley Ramirez. Duquette has prior experience with Ramirez from his tenure with the Red Sox, but signing a 34-year-old power bat to a team that should be selling makes no sense. With a 17-41 record and a lineup full of aging, undisciplined batters, comments like these from Duquette are extremely concerning.

Another frustrating practice the Orioles implement is neglecting their farm system of international talent. In May, Ben Badler of Baseball America wrote a story highlighting Baltimore ownership’s refusal to spend money in the international market. As Badler wrote in the piece, Duquette’s input only goes so far since the decisions on talent are ultimately made by the Angelos family. The decision to not dip into the international market not only limits the scouting the Orioles can do, but the return the team gets for sending off their international pool money amounts to almost nothing.

The struggles of the 2018 Orioles must not all fall on the offense. The pitching has not been perfect either, with the starting rotation sporting a 5.43 ERA and a bullpen that’s dealt with several injuries. However, since defeating the Red Sox 7-4 on May 18, the Orioles scored three runs or fewer in 13 of their last 14 games, going 3-11 in that span. Even if Dylan Bundy or another Orioles starting pitcher delivers a quality start, the chances of the Orioles’ offense providing just three runs have not been good as of late.

With just under two months remaining before the 2018 MLB trade deadline, there’s still time for Duquette and Orioles’ ownership to make some moves to better the club beyond 2018. All aspects of the club could use some work, but the offense appears to be the biggest issue plaguing the team. The scary reality Orioles fans are faced with is that the team’s ownership has been extremely reluctant to make any sort of changes to the way they construct their team, and no recent events point to that pattern changing. The reliance on the home run worked for a few seasons, but it’s time to change the offensive approach. Until the Orioles do that, the team’s losing ways will continue indefinitely.

Image Credit: Beyond the Box Score

 

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Orioles drop two games in shortened series against visiting Yankees

Game 1 (PPD): Thursday’s series opener was delayed almost two hours before finally being called off. The makeup game will take place on Monday, Jul. 9 as part of a single-admission double header.

Game 2 (4-1 NYY): After an unexpected but much appreciated night off, the Orioles and Yankees got their second series of the season underway on Friday.

Manny Machado appeared to jump start the lineup with a solo home run off of Sonny Gray in the first inning but that would end up being the O’s only run. Gray and the New York bullpen shutdown the Orioles lineup after the solo shot and allowed just four more hits.

Andrew Cashner took the mound for the Orioles and turned in another start that was rough around the edges but still quality. Cashner has been inconsistent and far from flashy since joining the O’s rotation, but usually puts his team in a position to win more often than not. Friday was no different but once again the offense was not able to score runs to support their starter or pick up a win. It marked the seventh straight game where the O’s have scored three runs or less.

Gleyber Torres and Greg Bird knocked in the Yankees first two runs with an RBI single and triple respectively. Aaron Judge capped off New York’s scoring with a solo home run in the seventh. The blast marked Judge’s fourth homer and eighth RBI at Camden Yards since debuting last season.

Game 3 (8-5 NYY): After another lengthy rain delay, the Orioles offense finally broke out on Saturday for a quality afternoon at the plate. The bad news is Kevin Gausman and the bullpen were awful and the O’s five-run outing went to waste.

Just like Friday’s game, the O’s got things started with a solo homer in the first inning. This time it was Adam Jones sending one to center field for his tenth home run of the season. Joey Rickard and Machado would follow with solo shots of their own off of Masahiro Tanaka in the third and sixth innings.

Tanaka was chased from the game after one out in the sixth, but Danny Valencia’s RBI double off of Jonathan Holder later on in the inning was credited to the Yankees’ starter.

Unfortunately, by the time the O’s pushed their fourth run across they were still down by two runs. Gausman worked his way through 5.1 innings but ran into even more trouble than Tanaka and gave up six runs, five of which were earned.

The Yankees scored two more runs in the eighth to make it an 8-4 game and the Orioles offense is just not built to make that kind of comeback. Jones picked up an RBI single in the ninth but that would be it for the O’s in this abbreviated series.

After surprising everyone with a 3-1 series win over the Yankees back in early April, the Orioles have regressed to one of the worst teams in baseball. These two wins not only even the season series but also help the Yankees maintain a slim lead over Boston at the top of the division going into Sunday.

Game 4 (PPD): After a weekend of on and off rain storms, Sunday afternoon’s finale was called off a few hours before the scheduled start. The two AL East rivals will now play another double header on Saturday, August 25. The Orioles announced that this will be a split double header (separate admission) with one game taking place at 1:05 pm and the other at 7:05 pm.

Up next: The O’s will have Monday off before heading out on a six-game road trip. It starts with a two-game set against the Mets, which marks the first road interleague series of the year for the Orioles. Runs have been hard enough to come by recently so who knows how bad it will get with the O’s pitchers taking at bats instead of a designated hitter.

After the short series in New York, the Orioles head to Toronto for four games from Thursday to Sunday.

Image credit: Patrick Semansky / AP

Orioles look to snap losing streak as Yankees come to town

BALTIMORE — The Orioles return to Camden Yards earlier this week did not have the soothing effect one might hope. After dropping the last two games of their series against Tampa Bay, the O’s came home and got swept by the Washington Nationals.

Tis weekend the New York Yankees will visit Camden Yards for the first time this season for a four game set against the basement dwelling O’s. Unlike the O’s, New York continues to find themselves in a constant battle with Boston for the AL East crown. While it is still very early, the Yankees can’t afford to lose matchups like this weekend’s series if they want to keep pace with Boston. With that being said, the O’s have already showed they can give the Yankees trouble despite being one of the worst teams in the league.

Last meeting: The Orioles and Yankees squared off back in early in April with a four game weekend series at Yankee Stadium. The Orioles ended up surprising everyone and took the series 3-1 thanks to a pair of extra inning wins. Manny Machado led the way for the Baltimore offense with seven hits and four RBI’s in the series. Things were not going as well at the time for Giancarlo Stanton. The Yankees newly acquired slugger struck out eight times in the series, five of which came in Sunday’s 12 inning finale.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, May 31, 7:05 pm – Andrew Cashner (2-6, 5.07 ERA) vs Sonny Gray (3-4, 5.98 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Friday, June 1, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (3-4, 4.31 ERA) vs Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 4.62 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Saturday, June 2, 4:05 pm – Alex Cobb (1-7, 6.80 ERA) vs Domingo German (0-3, 5.45 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Sunday, June 4, 1:05 pm – Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.46 ERA) vs CC Sabathia (2-1, 3.73 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Orioles:

  • The Oriole’s lineup is full of inconsistent hitters but there are some slumps that start to become very concerning the longer they go on. Trey Mancini is in the midst of one right now and while the cause has not been directly attributed to anything, many fear that a lingering injury could be to blame. Mancini got off to a solid start in 2018 and hit .284 through most of April. However, on April 20 Mancini injured his knee while sliding into the wall in left field. It forced him to leave the game but he returned to field a few days later. Since experiencing that scare, Mancini is batting .198 and has picked up just one hit in his last six games.
  • The Orioles have played quite a few series against division opponents so far in 2018 but have only managed to win a pair of them. Coming into their second meeting with the Yankees, the O’s hold a record of 9-14 against fellow AL East teams.

Notes on Yankees:

  • Yankees veteran starter, CC Sabathia will be making his 43rd career start against the O’s this weekend. The only team he has faced more in his 18 years in the majors is the Tampa Bay Rays (45). Twenty five of those starts have taken place at Camden yards where Sabathia holds an 11-7 record with a 3.58 ERA.
  • When these teams last met in early April, Didi Gregorius was off to a scorching hot start. The Yankees shortstop was batting .375 and had accumulated ten RBI’s through the first ten games of the season. Since then Gregorius has cooled down significantly and is batting .146 in the month of May with just four RBI’s.

Image credit: Andy Marlin / USA Today Sports

Orioles get back on track with three wins against Yankees in New York

Coming into this weekends series against their division rival, the Orioles had lost five games in a row and were desperate for a win. The O’s would break their streak with a win on Friday before picking up a pair of extra inning wins to take the series 3-1.

Game 1 (5-2 BAL): The Orioles started this weekend’s marathon series with their best overall performance of the season. More importantly, they picked up a win to end a five game losing streak. Andrew Cashner got the start for the O’s and turned in a great performance to get his season back on track. The newly acquired starter struggled in his Orioles debut last week but found a great deal of success against the Yankees, giving up just two hits and one run in six innings of work.

Despite having such an exceptional night on the mound, Cashner was close to earning a no decision as the O’s offense had failed to score through the first six innings. Luckily for Cashner, the Birds bats came to life in the top of the seventh to make him the pitcher of record.

Yankees starter, Masahiro Tanaka had handled the Orioles very well but started to fall apart when the Baltimore lineup came around for their third round of at bats. Johnathan Schoop got the inning started with a single in an eight pitch at bat. After losing that battle to Schoop, Tanaka quickly gave up a two run homer to Adam Jones. Just like that, the Orioles had taken the lead but they were not done yet.

Another single by Tim Beckham chased Tanaka out of the game but Chad Green did not fare any better in relief. An RBI double by Anthony Santander and two RBI single by Trey Mancini capped off the five run inning for the O’s.

Mychal Givens, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach closed out the game, allowing just five base runners and one run in their combined three innings of work. After blowing an opportunity on opening day, Brach earned his first save of the season.

Game 2 (7-3 BAL): After getting things back on track in Thursday’s series opener, the Orioles needed to build on it and keep the momentum going. It wouldn’t be easy and it certainly wouldn’t be quick but after 14 innings of high intensity baseball, the Orioles picked up a win in an instant classic.

Both starters were not spectacular but handled their business in their time on the mound. Kevin Gausman followed in Cashner’s footsteps to give himself a rebound outing while CC Sabathia’s night was cut short due to a hip injury. The Yankees veteran pitcher had given up three runs through his first four innings but had only thrown 58 pitches. It’s safe to say that the Yankees would have liked to get a few more innings out of their starter considering the length of the game.

Both bullpens, on the other hand, were exceptional. The five relievers that pitched for the O’s combined to give up just one run on two hits. That lone run came via a solo homer by Didi Gregorius in the eighth inning. Pitching wasn’t the only thing the O’s relievers did to save the game though. Mychal Givens came through with a huge defensive play to keep the game alive in the bottom of the eleventh.

With two outs and runners on second and third, Givens lost control of a pitch and sent one bouncing toward the backstop. With Gregorius barreling toward home plate for the winning run, Caleb Joseph was able to gather the ball quickly and flip it to Givens who ran off the mound to cover the plate. Givens extended his leg as if he was stealing a base, blocking Gregorius’ path in the process. Everything about the play was perfect, except for the wild pitch that caused it, and took place in a matter of seconds.

The Yankees would come back with a potential game saving play of their own in the thirteenth inning. In another two out situation, Caleb Joseph was at the plate for the O’s and he would end up getting a great pitch to hit when Jonathan Holder let a fastball sail high in the zone. Joseph sent the ball deep to right field but Aaron Judge was able to get a good read and follow it all the way to the wall before making a swift leap to rob the O’s of a go-ahead homer.

With the game already lasting well over five hours, the Orioles finally had enough in the fourteenth inning. After getting bailed out by Judge, Holder returned to the mound looking to keep the game tied. This time he would not be as lucky. The Orioles quickly loaded the bases with a Trey Mancini walk, a Manny Machado single and a perfect bunt by Jonathan Schoop. Adam Jones came to the plate next and battled with Holder for a six pitch at bat. Holder would end up retiring Jones on a controversial strikeout call that left the O’s captain furious.

Pedro Alvarez was up to bat next and before Jones could even calm himself in the dugout, the Orioles designated hitter sent a rocket to right field on the very first pitch he saw. The grand slam gave the O’s a huge 7-3 lead which they would hold through the bottom half of the inning for a thrilling game two win.

Lost in the madness of extra innings was a spectacular night for Manny Machado. The Orioles shortstop saw seven at bats on Friday and reached base in six of them with two home runs.

Game 3 (8-3 NYY): Friday nights game didn’t end until well past midnight which isn’t the biggest deal in the world, especially since the Orioles took home a win, but both teams were asked to make a quick turnaround as game three was slated for an early afternoon start.

It was a close game through the first five innings. Chris Tillman was once again far from dominate but put the Orioles in a position to win. With the game tied at three, the Yankees were able to take a lead by jumping on Tillman as he came back out for the sixth inning. Gregorius got the rally started with a four pitch walk and it was all down hill from there for Tillman as he faced four more batters and only retired one.

The Yankees kept that momentum going in the seventh inning, scoring three more runs off of Jimmy Yacabonis who had been called up earlier in the day. On the other hand, the New York bullpen was stellar after getting taxed heavily the night before. Adam Warren, David Robertson, and Luis Cessa combined to give up just two hits while closing out the final three innings.

Game 4 (8-7 BAL) : After three tough games it was only fitting that Sunday’s series finale followed suit. The O’s started the game by digging themselves into a hole when Mike Wright gave up five runs and recorded just two outs before being yanked from the game by Buck Showalter. It’s difficult to pull a starter extremely early, especially when you have had to use your bullpen a lot in recent games.

That decision by Showalter would pay off though. The Orioles went on to slowly chip away at the Yankees five run lead over the next four innings. RBI singles by Beckham and Santander got the O’s back on track before Danny Valencia made it a one run game with a two run homer in the fifth inning.

The orioles bullpen did a great job at coming in and keeping the Yankees under control while the offense made their comeback effort. Pedro Araujo finished off the first inning and worked through the third before turning it over to Miguel Castro and Tanner Scott who both gave up a run a piece.

After getting a run back in the sixth the O’s took their first lead of the game in the seventh. Danny Valencia got on base with a walk and Anthony Santander followed with a two run shot to give the Birds a 7-6 lead. Domingo German fell behind 3-0, giving Santander the green light for the first home run of his career.

That lead would not last too long though. In the bottom half of the seventh the Yankees were able to tie the game up at seven with an RBI single by Austin Romine. The game would remain tied through regulation, sending the two AL east rivals to extra innings for the second time this weekend.

In the twelfth inning the Orioles dug in against Adam Warren. A walk by Pedro Alvarez and a single by Anthony Santander put two on for Craig Gentry with two outs. The utility outfielder battled Warren for an intense, ll pitch at bat that ended in an RBI single for Gentry.

Brad Brach came on to pitch the bottom half of the inning and quickly walked the first two batters. The Orioles closer followed that with an error while trying to field a bunt by Brett Gardner. The huge mistake loaded the bases with no outs and brought Aaron Judge to the plate.

The game looked all but over but Brach was able to get an unconventional double play by throwing out the lead runners at home and third on a short grounder by Judge. With one more out needed Brach settled in and got Giancarlo Stanton to strike out for the fifth time in the game, capping off another thrilling extra inning win.

Up next: The Orioles will return home early this week for a three game series with the Toronto Blue Jays. These early season AL East matchups are tough but could prove to be big as the season progresses.

Image credit: Julie Jacobson / AP

Series Preview: Ice cold Orioles appropriately head to snowy New York to battle Yankees

NEW YORK — The first week of the 2018 Major League Baseball regular season could not have gone much worse for the Baltimore Orioles. The Birds currently hold a 1-5 record with the worst run differential in baseball (-20). Their starting pitching ERA is 6.00 (27’th in MLB), and their team batting average is .185 (28’th in MLB). It’s hard to even find something good to say about the one win the O’s do have, because it took them 11 innings to accomplish with just five hits.

The Orioles’ April slate of games would be a challenge for any team. However, the only starting pitcher to last more than five innings so far is Dylan Bundy. In addition, Baltimore has averaged just above six hits-per-game through the first six contests. That’s not nearly good enough to compete with the powerhouses of the American Leaue.

Perhaps the most frustrating part about the Orioles’ struggles so far is that they cannot get both the pitching and the hitting on the same page. On Tuesday, the bats finally got going, producing eight hits and six runs. Mike Wright Jr. surprisingly held the Houston lineup in check, giving up three earned runs in five frames. However, the bullpen imploded, highlighted by Nestor Cortes Jr. giving up a grand slam to Josh Reddick in the seventh inning. Then on Wednesday afternoon, Bundy threw six innings of one-run ball, but the Orioles could only produce two runs, and Miguel Castro fell victim to an Alex Bregman single that ended up being the difference in Baltimore’s 3-2 loss.

As if getting swept by the defending world champions wasn’t depleting enough, The Birds now head to the Bronx to battle the 2017 American League East runner-ups, the New York Yankees. The Yanks, currently 4-2, hold the second-best run differential (+14) in the American League. The O’s went 2-8 at Yankee Stadium in 2017, and will now face a lineup that includes four-time All-Star Giancarlo Stanton.

Winter weather expected: The Yankees’ were forced to cancel their original Monday home opener due to snow, and more snow is on the way to the Bronx this weekend. As of this writing, Friday’s forecast shows a 60% chance of rain/snow showers, with a 50% chance of rain in the evening. Saturday’s original forecast projected 3-5 inches of snow, but has since been reduced to a 10% chance of precipitation.

Game times and pitching matchups:

Game 1: Thursday, Apr. 5, 6:35 pm – Andrew Cashner (0-1, 7.20 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 1.50 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Friday, Apr. 6, 7:05 pm – Kevin Gausman (0-1, 13.50 ERA) vs. C.C. Sabathia (0-0, 1.80 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Saturday, Apr. 7, 1:05 pm – Chris Tillman (0-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Sonny Gray (0-0- 2.25 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Game 4: Sunday, Apr. 8, 1:05 pm – Mike Wright Jr. (0-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 1.80 ERA) – MASN, MLB Network (out-of-market), 105.7 The Fan

Notes on the Orioles:

  • Recently acquired starting pitcher Alex Cobb threw a simulated game in Sarasota on Wednesday. He threw 74 pitches, allowing one run on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts. According to reports, Cobb could make his Orioles debut as soon as Monday.
  • In 35 career road games against AL East opponents, Trey Mancini owns a .331 average in 127 at-bats.
  • Thursday will mark Cashner’s first time pitching at Yankee Stadium. Against the Yankees, Cashner is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in 20 innings pitched.

Notes on the Yankees:

  • While Yankees starters this season have only given up six earned runs in 33 innings, their bullpen has struggled, bringing a 6.63 ERA (19 innings) into Thursday.
  • With the Marlins, Stanton only played six games against the Orioles. In 24 at-bats, the O’s limited him to three hits and nine strikeouts, but Stanton walked four times.
  • On Wednesday, New York’s new three-headed monster, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Stanton, all homered in the same game for the first time this season as the Yankees topped the Rays 7-2.

Up Next: The Orioles return home for a quick three-game homestead at Camden Yards against the Toronto Blue Jays, beginning on Monday and ending on Wednesday. All three contests are nightcaps beginning at 7:05 pm. The Orioles will have their first off day of the 2018 season on Thursday.

Image Credit: NewsOk

Mark Trumbo to miss start of season after MRI reveals quad strain

After experiencing some lingering issues in spring training, Orioles outfielder Mark Trumbo underwent an MRI on Tuesday. The test revealed a Grade 2 quadriceps strain that will sideline the slugger for three to four weeks.

Trumbo recently missed about a week of action but returned to the field on Wednesday for the Orioles game against the New York Yankees. The 32-year-old was penciled in the lineup as a designated hitter and saw three plate appearances.

Manager Buck Showalter said Trumbo was fine during the game but experienced some stiffness and soreness while driving home, leading the team to request an MRI. The tests revealed a more serious injury that will likely force Trumbo to miss the beginning of the season.

With opening day just two weeks away, the Orioles will be without one of their best power hitters as they prepare to compete in the tough American League East. Trumbo has hit 70 home runs while batting .246 in two seasons with Baltimore.

Image credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Series Recap: Orioles disappoint in crucial road series against New York

Prior to this weekend’s series, we said that the Orioles were at risk of being eliminated from playoff contention at the hand of the Yankees. Well, the Orioles’ playoff hopes are certainly done but New York is not to blame.

If you tuned in to the first three games of this series, you know that the Orioles shot themselves in the foot and played some of their worst baseball of the season. There was absolutely no quality pitching and the offense continued to disappear when it mattered most. New York ended up hitting ten home runs while outscoring the O’s 34-16 in the four game series.

Wade Miley set the pace for the entire pitching staff in his start (if you can even call it one) on Thursday. Miley managed to record just one out before being pulled by Buck Showalter. Nothing says “playoff contender” like giving up six runs in the first inning, right?

I wish I could say things got better after Miley’s exit, but the bullpen was simply not prepared to pitch a full game and it showed. Mike Wright tossed 3.2 innings of relief, but surrendered another three runs. Richard Rodriguez came in after that and only managed to get through one inning before giving up back-to-back homers to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. The two bombs added four more runs and capped off the Yankees’ 13-run evening.

Following Thursday’s blowout, the Orioles grabbed an early lead on Friday. Welington Castillo hit a line drive home run into right field to put the O’s up 2-1. This would be their only run production in the game, as the Yankees quickly tied it up and then took the lead.

Gabriel Ynoa received another chance to start on Friday. Compared to the rest of the rotation, he was relatively serviceable. The 24-year-old pitcher made it through a little over four innings and gave up three runs, but only two were earned.

When Ynoa exited the game in the fifth, he left a runner on base but the score was tied 2-2. Miguel Castro entered the game and gave up the lead on a two-run homer. The Yankees piled on four more runs after this and went on to win, 8-2.

Saturday’s starting pitcher was Jeremy Hellickson and his outing went about as well as you would expect from someone with a 6.54 ERA. Hellickson gave up six runs through just three innings of work. By the seventh inning, New York had already accumulated a 9-0 lead and cruised their way to another dominant victory.

Facing a shoutout, the Orioles finally got on the board in the ninth inning when September call-up Austin Hays hit his first career home run. The two-run shot was followed by a balk, but the scoring would stop there.

Another bright spot from Saturdays loss was the return of J.J Hardy. After missing a few months with a wrist fracture, Hardy got to start at shortstop on Saturday afternoon and went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.

On Sunday, the Orioles finally came to life and put together a quality game. Ubaldo Jimenez picked up ten strikeouts in five innings of work and only gave up one run. The offense took advantage of this quality outing by Jimenez and provided some run support.

Hays got it started with an RBI single in the second inning for his third RBI of the series and Trey Mancini followed with an RBI double in the third. For the first time in the entire series, the Orioles got a huge momentum-changing hit when Tim Beckham launched a three-run homer in the fourth. Beckham’s 22nd homer of the year put the O’s up 5-1.

The Yankees chipped away at the Orioles lead by scoring two runs in the sixth and another in the eighth to make it a 6-4 game. Thankfully, Zach Britton entered the game with two outs in the eighth picked up a four-out save.

The Orioles played a decent game on Sunday to pick up a win, avoiding getting swept. However, when that win stands as just your second in the past ten games, you have a problem. You simply can’t expect to remain in playoff contention after what happened in the first three games of this series.

The Orioles will return home on Monday for a series with the Red Sox, but don’t expect it to look or sound like a home game. With the Orioles eliminating themselves from the playoffs and the Red Sox currently sitting on top of the AL East, Camden Yards is probably going to be more reminiscent of Fenway Park in this series.

Image Credit: Associated Press