There are nights where there are many bad innings for the Orioles. This was not such a night. In fact, there was only one bad inning, and it was a bad inning that never should have happened. Jake Arrieta recorded two outs in the bottom of the fourth when he gave up a double to Chipper Jones and hit the next batter, Freddie Freeman, with a pitch. Two men on, two men down, and to the plate stepped Dan Uggla, he of the .177 batting average. Uggla struck a line drive to left field that had plenty of hang time. Indeed, even the not-speedy Luke Scott had time to get his body in front of the ball and get his glove out. The ball missed his glove and a run scored.
Because you had to be reminded you were watching the Orioles, Arrieta proceeded to walk Nate McClouth (a .232 hitter) to load the bases, and then gave up a grand slam to David Ross. That would be Atlanta's backup catcher. This put the O's into a 5-2 deficit and they would not recover, all because Luke Scott could not make this play. An error was not charged on the play, so all five runs were earned. This is laughable, and unfortunate for Arrieta's ERA to suffer from that level of left field butchery.
Scott added an 0-3 at the plate to this horrendous defensive effort. I'm glad we have to play this guy against every right-handed starter. No, really, I'm just so glad.
The Orioles did manage four runs, which all came via the home run. Two of these bombs were delivered by Mark Reynolds, who's actually living up to the promise of all of the home runs. He now has 17 home runs. He also has 19 errors. Nick Markakis also hit a home run as part of a 3-5 night. Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Reynolds also had two-hit nights.
There was hope in the top of the 8th inning as old Birdland favorite Eric O'Flaherty, who was the pitching catalyst for the genesis of Birdland when he played for Seattle, was on the mound. With a man out, Blake Davis singled, and pinch-hitter Robert Andino also singled. Let's take a time out for a moment and process the fact that two straight light-hitting second basemen had to bat in a game at any time. Two men on, one down, but J.J. Hardy bounced a fielder's choice to second and Markakis followed with an at-bat where he worked a 3-1 count then flew out to left on a terrible pitch. You might as well have written off the ballgame, and indeed, though Wieters hit a single in the top of the 9th the O's never really threatened against Craig Kimbrel, who recorded his 24th save. We can look forward to the O's overpaying him before the 2016 season.
Some additional indignities follow below the jump.
Specifically, I would like to call this a "WTF, Buck?" game. He has them sometimes, and unfortunately more frequently of late. Let's look at some lowlights.
* Derrek Lee batting 5th. Lee ended the game with a .666 OPS. This is an on-going concern.
* Luke Scott playing over Nolan Reimold. This is also an on-going concern, as you have probably noticed.
* Felix Pie pinch-hit for Nolan Reimold in the 9th. That's right. Pie pinch-hit for Reimold. To hell with platoon splits, that is just plain stupid.
* Arrieta, who only gave up 5 runs because of Scott's defensive incompetence, was pinch-hit for in the 6th, thus getting pulled from the game with only 71 pitches thrown. Sure, a man was on base with one out and the O's down by two runs, but what was Vladimir Guerrero gonna do? Guerrero has a .686 OPS.
* Koji Uehara was used in the 9th inning. It was the delicate flower's 34th appearance of the year.
The loss was the Orioles' 5th straight, and it sends them to ten games below .500, the worst record of the year. It will be up to Zach Britton to stop the streak tomorrow. He'll be up against the Braves' own promising rookie, Brandon Beachy, who's made ten starts and has a 10.54 K/9. That's helped him to a 3.04 ERA in 56.1 IP. He is right-handed, so I'm sure we will once again not see Reimold. With or without Reimold, I don't see the current Orioles team beating any pitcher who strikes out more than ten men per nine innings. That's just ridiculous.