When you only get six hits as a team in a game started by Sean O'Sullivan, you don't deserve to win. That was the case for the Orioles on Thursday as they failed to sweep the Phillies with a 2-1 loss. Giving up only two runs is not a lot of runs. Unfortunately, one run is less than two runs.
The Phillies are a moribund baseball team that had lost nine in a row coming into today's game. That certainly makes it feel like this was a game that the Orioles ought to have won, and they were not without their chances to win it. They did not capitalize on those few chances. Even these awful Phillies have a winning percentage that is greater than .250. Even against a bad team, it's hard to win four in a row. That's little consolation, of course.
The Orioles scored their lone run of the game on their very first batter. Manny Machado hit a home run to get the game started, his 14th home run of the year. That was it. They never scored again after that, even with a Phillies starter in O'Sullivan who came into the game with a 5+ ERA. That is a bad effort. It was only one game and only one loss, but a loss it definitely was.
The 1-0 lead to which Machado staked the Orioles lasted until the sixth inning of the game. The speedy Ben Revere reached base on an infield single to lead off the bottom of the inning and, between a stolen base and a groundout, worked his way around to third base with two outs.
O's starter Bud Norris had only to retire Ryan Howard to get out of that jam. Howard is not a very good baseball player any more and in fact he hasn't been for several years. That doesn't mean he's not dangerous in his way, especially if you throw to him the greatest meatball in the history of meat and balls. That may well have been the only bad pitch that Norris threw all day. It landed in the right field seats for Howard's 12th home run of the year, giving the Phillies a 2-1 lead that held for the rest of the game.
Norris was done after six innings, giving up two runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out only two batters. Even if it was the Phillies, that ought to have been good enough, and most days it will be. Today it was not.
Baseball is a funny game with how much it hinges on what you've done for me lately. Machado was, in some ways, the hero of the game, scoring the lone Orioles run. He had two of the Orioles' six hits, in fact. Yet he was also the goat who squandered a promising opportunity for the team to tie the game in the seventh inning.
That potential seventh inning scoring opportunity cropped up when Chase Utley turned what should have been an inning-ending GIDP off the bat of Jimmy Paredes into a ball that was chucked into left field, allowing the runner, David Lough, to motor around to third base on the play. Against a bad team like the Phillies, that's an opportunity where you need to cash in, especially when it's the top of the lineup coming up.
Well, that's what you would think, anyway, but as Machado took the batter's box against Philly reliever Luis Garcia, with the chance to tie the game without even getting a base hit, he had one of those at-bats where the player just looks like they have no approach or regard for the situation whatsoever. Put the ball in play and see what happens. Or you can just go hacking and eventually strike out swinging on a pitch out of the strike zone.
The batter following Machado was Travis Snider. He fared little better, also looking rather pathetic in striking out. That was the story of Snider's day. He'll be wearing the golden sombrero on the team's flight to Toronto as he struck out four times in four at-bats, looking terrible in every one of them. Snider sports a sub-.700 OPS on the season and yet it's still surprising when you look at his batting line and realize it's that high.
That was basically it. Little else happened. The Orioles lost the game and fell back to two games above .500. Their standing in the AL East will depend on what happens to their competitors in later games.
A weekend series against the Blue Jays awaits. The first game is scheduled for 7:07 on Friday night. Mike Wright and Marco Estrada are the expected starting pitchers.