The good news about tonight's game is that Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee homered, probably specifically to spite Andrew and myself, who argued for each one's respective release. The bad news about tonight's game is everything else.
Let's get the ugliest stuff out of the way first. In the bottom of the first inning, the Rangers loaded the bases on Jeremy Guthrie before an out was recorded. Then Adrian Beltre hit a pop fly to left field. Felix Pie (seriously, why was he starting?) had a horrible read on it, drifting back towards the warning track before ultimately sprinting full-tilt in to make a basket catch. This play was pathetic, and I was embarrassed watching it because on the MASN broadcast Jim Hunter immediately jumped in to say, "What an AMAZING catch by Pie!" Ian Kinsler tagged from third base and Pie didn't even throw the ball towards the plate or any other base. He was not deep, although due to the basket catch Pie was in no place to set his feet and throw. Guts gave up two more runs before a strike 'em out-throw 'em out double play ended the inning. He ultimately gave up six runs in five innings.
During the broadcast, Jim Palmer gave a stat about Orioles starters that went a little something like this: over their past seven games, O's starters have an ERA of over 8.00, and over the past 21 games, they have an ERA of around 6.50. The last time the Orioles gave up less than three runs in a game was June 10. In case you're wondering, 21 games takes us back to June 14. Mark Connor resigned on June 14. How much of a coincidence is that?
Michael Gonzalez, Brad Bergesen and Kevin Gregg appeared in the game and all of these were also bad. Actually, you all know I'm the last person to ever give Gonzalez any credit, but one of the two runs he gave up was on a double that Pie misplayed and may have been catchable. Bergesen was terrible, giving up four runs in an inning, and Gregg was Gregg, loading the bases before escaping with a mere RBI groundout. I've gotta be honest with you, I was rooting for the grand salami at that point. If you're going to be stuck watching a disaster, it might as well be a disaster.
The Rangers racked up 19 hits, including seven doubles and a home run. Six different Rangers had extra base hits. They hit 8-15 with RISP. (The Orioles were 3-8.)
The wheels feel like they have fallen off the bus of this team. In the game thread, James pointed out that it seems like the team was treading water until Matusz returned, and when he came back and sucked, they swooned. Then things completely fell apart once Matusz was demoted to AAA. This is probably another coincidence, one of those cases where we are all left grasping at straws to have a narrative to explain what we cannot explain.
It's bad right now. The familiar fan fatigue from all the losing is setting in. There is no reason to have any hope for this season any more. Even dreams of a modest improvement like 75 wins feel out of reach. The team looks outclassed and outgunned, and the players we had all our hopes pinned on just aren't carrying the load we imagined.
The O's have now lost eight of their past nine, and they're heading right to Boston for a four-game series to close out the first half of the season. Jake Arrieta will get the ball for the Orioles and Andrew Miller pitches for the Pink Hats.
This is Birdland.