The Orioles hopped into a time machine tonight and went back to 2009, back to a time when failing at every facet of the game was the norm. First they failed at the plate, they failed on the bases, they failed out of the bullpen, and finally they failed on defense. It all added up to a 3-0 loss that felt even worse than the final score.
It's just a speed bump, of course, don't get too worked up. They didn't lose any ground in the AL East as both the Yankees and Blue Jays lost. They still have a 9.5 game lead.
The best thing about this game was Wei-Yin Chen, and that's saying something considering the fact that he wasn't very good at all. He somehow got through six innings without giving up any runs, with four hits and three walks. He had a 1-2-3 first inning but then labored after that. His off-speed pitches weren't working for him at all. It was something of a miracle that the Rays didn't take a lead in the first six innings of this game. Well, a miracle plus the fact that the Rays are terrible at scoring runs in general.
The O's offense wasted early opportunities against Rays' starter Alex Cobb. They had two hits each in the first and second innings, but in the first David Lough got himself picked off of first base and in the second they just couldn't get the runners in. On a number of occasions they hit the ball hard, they seemed to go right to a Ray in the field. Cobb wasn't so dominant that he kept the Orioles off the bases altogether, but after the second inning they couldn't get more than one runner on in any inning.
With the regular members of the Orioles bullpen overworked and beaten up, Buck Showalter made the decision to only go with the C squad out of the pen. Though he didn't name them, he said that five of his relief pitchers weren't available tonight. As such, all three members of the bullpen who relieved Chen were September call ups and quickly showed why they were in triple-A all this time.
Ryan Webb, who had been so good at the start of this season, started the seventh inning and allowed a runner to reach third base thanks in part to a wild pitch. He managed to finish the inning without allowing a run, but he looked bad. But it was in the eighth that it all fell apart.
Webb started the eighth for some reason, and immediately gave up back-to-back singles. Called on to replace him was Evan Meek, who I didn't miss at all. Meek walked the bases loaded, then got a sharp hit ball to Jonathan Schoop at second base. Schoop couldn't make the play and the first run came in. The next batter grounded to J.J. Hardy and he didn't make a mistake, firing home to get the first out. But a single by Ryan Hanigan made the score 3-0 and Evan Meek was replaced with...Joe Saunders? Oy. Saunders hit the first guy he faced, but then got a double play to end the inning.
That was it for the Orioles as Jake McGee came in and struck out the side to end the game. It was just a miserable game to watch. I hope that the decision to keep the best members of the bullpen on the bench works out for the Orioles, because they paid a price for it today.