The Orioles finished their homestand today by dropping their third straight game in a 3-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
By and large, Koji Uehara pitched a very good game, going 6.1 innings and giving up just three earned with seven hits, no walks, and five strikeouts. Koji threw 102 pitches, and although he looked great through the first six innings, it has become apparent after a few starts that when he runs out of gas, things tend to unravel in a hurry.
In the postgame press conference, Dave hinted at the fact that Uehara's location began to waver in the seventh inning, and his control just wasn't the same. After surrendering a home run to Torii Hunter, Baez began to throw in the 'pen; however before Danys was even warm, Koji gave up a second consecutive homer, which put the O's behind 3-1. The bomb given up to Hunter was a hanging breaking ball, and the second jack to Kendry Morales appeared to be a pitch right down mainstreet.
Just when it looked like Uehara was due for the hook, Gary Matthews Jr. hit a sizzling line drive right back at Koji, who was unable to get out of the way in time. Even after taking a blow to the body, Uehara attempted to make a play for the ball, but he soon collapsed to the ground in pain. Although we feared the worst, Trembley, somewhat confusingly, stated in his press conference that Koji's ribs were not hit and it was, rather, his chest, whatever that's supposed to mean.
The O's gave it their last real shot in the bottom of the eighth as Adam Jones led off the inning with an infield hit. After a passed ball, AJ was able to move over to second with none down and Markakis as the plate. Not one to disappoint, Nicky drove in Adam with a single to right and the O's were within a run. Despite LAA starter Shane Loux being taken out of the game, though, the O's continued to struggle at the plate as Huff got under every pitch thrown to him, and Luke Scott whiffed on an unsuccessful apparent hit and run. I may be wrong, but I believe Luke has failed to protect the runner on numerous occasions now, yet Trembley called the play despite the count being 3-1 with only one out recorded.
George Sherrill was inserted into a no-pressure situation in the top of the ninth as his team actually trailed by one, yet even with this change of scenery, Sherrill was still smacked around, giving up two hits in just one inning pitched. I'm really starting to lose faith in George, and if/when he is relieved of his closing duties, it seems as if his worth will be maximized as a LOOGY rather than a set-up man/7th inning reliever as he has vastly underperformed since the All-Star break of 2008.
In an uneventuful bottom of the ninth, Wigginton, Moeller, and Mora went down 1-2-3 to closer Brian Fuentes.
Despite the ineptitude of his teammates, Nick Markakis was able to successfully extend his streak as he has now hit in sixteen consecutive games.