The Orioles played their most frustrating game of the year tonight, losing to the Mets. Despite the close score, the O's were never really this game except for the bottom of the 9th and for about ten seconds in the 6th between Nick Markakis' home run and Melvin Mora's GIDP. Other than that, ugly pitching, ugly hitting, and especially ugly fielding.
Jeremy Guthrie continued his shaky 2009 season with another ugly outing. He started off pretty well, getting through the first three innings without allowing a hit, but all hell broke loose in the fourth. After a leadoff walk, Carlos Beltran hit into what should have been a routine double play. In his first mistake of the evening, Brian Roberts dropped the ball and both runners were safe. From there, Guthrie simply fell apart. He was leaving all of his pitches out over the plate and the Mets took advantage. Singles by David Wright, Ryan Church, Gary Sheffield, Brian Schneider, and a sacrifice fly by Daniel Murphy gave the Mets a 4-0 lead before the inning ended.
After finally getting out of the fourth, Guthrie settled down and was able to pitch 2.1 more innings before being replaced by Alberto Castillo with one out in the 7th. Castillo is the new lefty specialist, I guess. He's about as good as the old lefty specialist was as he promptly gave up singles to the two lefties he was brought in to face. That loaded the bases with one out. The Mets only had a two run lead at this point, so Trembley turned to Danys Baez. Baez was as good as anyone could have hoped. He induced a ground ball by Beltran. Huff threw home for the out, and the O's were one out away from getting out of it. Baez battled David Wright for 8 pitches, finally getting him to pop up to shallow right field. It was the kind of ball that you normally see the second baseman take, but instead Aubrey Huff tried to catch backwards and over his shoulder. He was unsuccessful, and ended up making the O's third error of the day. Two runs scored, making it 6-2.
Like I said, ugly. Huff should have caught the ball, it was close enough. But in reality Brian Roberts should have taken charge. That was his second mistake of the day. His third would come on the very next at bat. Ryan Church grounded to Melvin Mora, who looked to second base. Brian, however, wasn't covering the bag. Luckily Melvin had time to go to first for the out.
Brian just had an awful day. Look, I love Brian Roberts. He has meant a lot of the Orioles and I'm glad he's on the team. I've defended him in the past, but there isn't any defending him tonight. He looked unfocused and lazy. I don't know what he was doing out there. This entire game gave me a stomach ache, but Brian was the worst of it. To top things off, he came up to the plate in the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded and one out and hit what looked like a double play ball. The ball was hit a little slowly and Felix Pie had a great slide at 2nd to ensure the shortstop couldn't make the throw to first. It's a good thing, since Brian appeared to be strolling down the line.
As for the offense, they had three innings worth discussing. In the 5th the bottom of the order staged a two out rally. Nolan Reimold walked, Matt Wieters singled, and Robert Andino walked to load the bases. Unfortunately, Brian Roberts (of course) struck out on a ball down around his ankles to end the inning.
In the 6th, Adam Jones led off with a single and scored on Nick Markakis' first home run since May 21st, a span of 24 games and 100 plate appearances. That pulled the Orioles to within two. Aubrey Huff followed with a single, but Melvin Mora promptly grounded into a double play to kill the rally.
Then, of course, the bottom of the 9th, the only inning in which the Orioles appeared to show any life. Back to back singles to lead off the inning and Jerry Manuel decided not to risk it and went to Francisco Rodriguez. Rodriguez, who has been crazy good this year, wasn't at his sharpest. Nolan Reimold, who had the best night you can have without actually getting a hit, worked him for an 8 pitch at bat that ended in a walk to load the bases. Matt Wieters then struck out, looking just plain silly against K-Rod. Then Ty Wigginton, the hero of Sunday's game, stepped in as a pinch hitter. For someone who has hacked at early pitches all season long, Ty showed great patience and worked a bases loaded walk. Brian Roberts then hit into a fielder's choice which also scored a run. With two outs and the tying run on base, Adam Jones was unable to figure K-Rod out, and he struck out to end the game.
Obviously it's impossible to predict what would have happened in this game had the three errors not been made. But the bottom line is the Orioles ended up losing by two and the Mets scored three unearned runs. It was an ugly, disappointing, frustrating game.
Notes and Random Stuff:
- I know that Matt Wieters is our new religion, but Nolan Reimold is the real rookie star. As I mentioned, Nolan didn't have a hit today, but the box score doesn't show the true story. In the 5th inning, Nolan forced Mike Pelfrey to throw him ten pitches that went like this: ball, foul, foul, ball, ball, foul, foul, foul, foul, ball. It was one of the more impressive at bats I've seen by an Oriole lately. In the 7th he hit the ball hard but unfortunately right at the left fielder. And in the 9th he showed great patience and poise against Frankie Rodriguez, who's stuff is just nasty. After getting down in the count 1-2, he fouled off two pitches in between three more balls to earn his second walk of the night. I never in a million years would have predicted Reimold to start his career this way.
- Nick looked pretty good tonight. In addition to his home run, he also had a single. I feel like I say this a lot, but hopefully he's coming out of his slump. This team needs Nick Markakis to be good again.
- Melvin Mora continues to hit 5th and it continues to annoy me. I guess we should all just get over it because it doesn't look like it's changing any time soon. I know that Trembley is very intent on not putting too many lefties together, but if that's the case I don't see why he shouldn't just swap Mora and Reimold. At least Melvin entertained us tonight by yelling at the ump and almost getting tossed.