In baseball, as in life, there is no such thing as a predestined outcome. Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez offers a close replica, though. The Orioles had not lost back-to-back games since June 28-29. After a tough loss on Friday night, the O's had Ubaldo pitching in Saturday's game. The story of the end of that streak practically writes itself, and that's exactly what it did. Ubaldo bumbled his way through the game until he was mercifully lifted, but by then the Orioles were in a 6-0 hole that held up as the game's final score.
At no point in the game did you have any reason to feel good about Jimenez. This happens all too often with the Orioles' marquee addition from this past offseason. He went ahead and walked the first two batters he faced in the game, because he's Ubaldo and that's what he does. That was followed with a one out, three-run home run by Carlos Santana, putting the Orioles in an early hole from which they never had a chance to emerge.
Orioles hitters were kind enough to prevent Jimenez from having a monopoly on causing Orioles fan misery. They were lost the entire night, mustering only four hits across the game's nine innings, never drawing a walk. That came against seven innings of Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco, who is no one who ought to be shutting out the Orioles, and therefore the most likely pitcher to shut out the Orioles.
It was an ugly performance. The O's sent the minimum three batters to the plate in seven of the game's nine innings. They never had multiple base hits in the same inning. There was absolutely nothing positive to hang your hat on about their performance. They went 0-4 in their few opportunities with runners in scoring position. They had 1-2-3 innings every inning from the fourth through the eighth.
Jimenez also continued to be ugly. He may have tricked a few people by settling down for three innings after a disastrous first, but he went right back to a nuclear reactor meltdown in the fifth inning, giving up another three runs, including a two-run home run to Michael Brantley, his 18th of the year. Brantley's actually having himself a good season, so it's not like serving up the walkoff dinger to, say, Mike Aviles. Jimenez gave no reason to be charitable towards him, though.
In bombing his way towards his ninth loss of the season, Jimenez lasted only 4.1 innings, giving up six runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out five. He allowed the two home runs. Carrasco, on the other hand, pitched seven strong innings of three-hit ball, improving his record to 5-4. Carrasco was a big part of the reason why O's batters had a .133 average on the night.
T.J. McFarland, Brad Brach, and Tommy Hunter were the garbage time trio who closed out the game for the O's with no further damage allowed.
Nick Markakis had two of the Orioles' four hits, including a leadoff single in the top of the first. Unfortunately, no one else brought their bats to the field. All his first inning hit did for him was put him on base when Adam Jones grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Orioles will try to stave off the sweep in a scheduled 1:05 game on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Gausman is tasked with arresting the slide as the O's starter. He'll be opposed by Cleveland's Danny Salazar, who sports a 4.88 ERA and is therefore a prime candidate to hang another shutout on the Orioles.
Let's end on a piece of good news:
Buck would not commit to Ubaldo getting another start. #orioles— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) August 17, 2014
Hallelujah! Where's the Tylenol?