Rays 6, Orioles 2: Crappy offense? Check. Crappy bullpen? Check. Another frustrating loss? Check.

The ominous clouds rolling over Camden Yards aptly illustrate tonight's game.

It was a dark and stormy night. The sky crackled with lightning as rain poured onto players and fans alike, a miserable night compounded by a quiet home team unable to crack the enigmatic pitcher on the mound. As water pooled in the infield and wind swirled through the stadium, once again the Baltimore Orioles failed to reward the efforts of their rookie on the mound. Late in the night, a tall, dark, and handsome newcomer rewarded the shivering masses in the stands with a mammoth blast, but it was too little too late and once again the Orioles met a grisly fate.

Wait, you want an actual recount of the game? Ok. 

The one thing you can say about tonight is that at least James Shields, the latest to shut down the Orioles' offense, is actually a good pitcher (take THAT, Bruce Chen and Kyle Davies). Shields rolled through 7.1 innings against the Orioles, barely breaking a sweat.  

Zach Britton also had a good game, but it wasn't good enough. He had one poor inning, allowing all four hits and three runs in the second. He didn't pitch very deep into the game, only 5.1 innings, but it seems almost pointless to harp on something like that when the Orioles are never going to win if they don't start scoring some runs.

After an easy first inning, Britton lost his way in the second. Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton started the inning with doubles, then rookie Brandon Guyer, making his major league debut, smoked a home run far over the left field wall. It was a thirty-one pitch inning for Britton and enough to give him the loss.

In the second through fifth innings, Britton allowed only two baserunners. Ben Zobrist walked in the third, and Elliot Johnson reached on a throwing error by Britton himself in the fifth. He started the sixth inning with 89 pitches and after six-pitch AB to Johnny Damon that resulted in a fly out to left, Britton was pulled in favor of Jason Berken. It could be considered another questionable decision by Showalter to replace him so early, but with the rain pouring down and the mound and infield essentially mud pits, it seems like an easily justifiable decision.  

Britton didn't last as long as anyone would have hoped pre-game, but he kept his team in it and limited the damage. Would Berken do the same? The short answer? Yes, but it wasn't pretty. The long answer? The first batter he faced, Longoria, singled to left. The second batter he faced, Upton, singled to left. The third batter he faced, Guyer, struck out. In the middle of the at bat to the fourth batter he faced, Kelly Shoppach, he threw a wild pitch to allow the runners to advance. Shoppach then hit a long fly ball to right that Markakis caught just in front of the scoreboard for the final out.

Berken returned to the mound for the seventh inning and immediately gave up a single to Casey Kotchman. After a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, Berken intentionally walked Ben Zobrist then gave way to Clay Rapada. Rapada got the job done, striking out Damon to end the inning.

eremy Accardo started the eighth inning and you know what? I don't think he's a very good pitcher. I conducted a survey tonight of myself and one other person and it was unanimous: Accardo is not good. He walked one, retired two, walked another, then gave up an RBI single to Kotchman. Can someone please tell the Orioles to stop giving up hits to Kotchman? He's a AAAA player.

Koji Uehara pitched the ninth inning and continued to make me sad. After a Ben Zobrist single, Damon hit a home run onto the flag court to make the score 6-1. Sigh.

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned the offense yet. Well, that's because they only deserve on paragraph, frankly. The O's managed just three hits off of James Shields in seven innings. Vladimir Guerrero doubled to left in the fourth inning for the O's first hit of the game, then nothing else happened until Derrek Lee's solo home run in the sixth inning. Adam Jones added a one-out single in the seventh but was eliminated on a double play ball off the bat of Matt Wieters. The O's did make some noise in the ninth inning, as with two down Vlad hit his second double of the day, then scored on a double by Luke Scott. That prompted Joe Maddon to removed Joel Peralta in favor of Brandon Gomes, who retired Adam Jones on a pop up to the catcher. 

Tomorrow the Orioles play a rare Saturday day game as they are the Fox game of the week. It'll be a battle of the Jeremies (Hellickson vs. Guthrie). 

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