Tonight's game began full of hope and promise: a Zach Britton start looked like a great chance for the Orioles to break out of the funk that's settled on the team since the middle of the Texas series. Unfortunately, the Cleveland Indians had other plans, getting to Britton with a flurry of hits in the third inning as Indians starter Justin Masterson effectively shut down the Orioles hitters on the way to an 8-2 victory.
Britton lasted six innings, and in only one inning was more than a single run scored. A Matt LaPorta triple started the fireworks. This was a frustrating play to watch as (in this blogger's opinion) left fielder Luke Scott made a poor play off the wall and then a weak throw in to third base and LaPorta should have been either out, or even encouraged to stay at second base. Sometimes that play matters. In this case it did not, because the next five hitters all singled and plenty of other damage was done. They were all ground balls that were hit sharply, just not at a place where the fielders could get to them. Britton did give up a solo home run to Travis Hafner in the sixth: a no-doubter to right center on a night where the wind was blowing in. A week ago those balls were finding gloves and now they aren't. That's the difference between a 6-1 record and a 6-6 record.
After only 83 pitches, Britton was removed from the game. Perhaps it seemed like the ideal situation to find innings for Josh Rupe. He sucked, allowing five of the six batters he faced to reach base, three of whom scored. Rubbing salt in the wounds of Orioles fans reeling after last night's loss was a garbage time appearance to get work for Koji Uehara, whom you may recall warmed up but never pitched in last night's game. Who knows why?
As for the Orioles offense, there wasn't much to speak of. Masterson had good movement on the fastball and kept Orioles hitters from ever really making solid contact. The O's got four hits off him in seven innings, and eight total in the game, none of which were for extra bases. Cesar Izturis batted with the bases loaded and ended the game. I think that says it all right there. Jake Fox had just pinch-hit for Matt Wieters and was hit by a pitch. Why is Fox hitting for Wieters and then Izturis hitting for himself? The world may never know.
I've noted in a past recap post that all of the wins this year have felt like 2011 wins, but all of the losses have felt like 2010 losses. This game had the feel of a Diamond Dave Trembley-era game, as has every one of the previous five and it sucks to have our early excitement drained away so thoroughly.
The Orioles will look to end the losing streak in a 1:05pm game tomorrow. Jeremy Guthrie, hopefully fully recovered from Bieber Fever, will try to be the stopper for the Orioles. He'll be opposed by the Indians' Josh Tomlin. Guts will probably need to throw a complete game shutout, because the offense isn't doing much and I don't want to see the bullpen.