The Orioles lose again, this time 6-4 to the Houston Astros. This is their fourth loss in a row. Now 23-28, the Orioles are a season worst five games below .500. Consistency has been lacking for the Orioles this season as neither side of the ball ever seems to have it going when the other when does. A possible consequence of some role players forced into regular duty. The Orioles look like a team of understudies forced on to the main stage and they are floundering at the moment. Players are miscast and asked to do more than they can as the show struggles to go onward.
The game started off well enough as the offense was seemingly coming out of it's doldrums. Astros starter Collin McHugh breezed through the first, but ran into a buzz saw in the second. The inning began with a Chris Davis walk. Then, after an out, Jimmy Paredes singled to make it first and third one down. Steve Pearce then stroked a nice single into right center field and one run scored, 1-0 Orioles. Still first and third, Ryan Flaherty stepped up to the plate and smashed a triple to center field which rolled up Tal's Hill (his second in as many nights), 3-0 Orioles. Next, with two down and a man on third, Manny Machado lined a single into left field, 4-0 Orioles. Travis Snider would reach on an infield single making it runners on first and second with two down, but Adam Jones would strike out and leave the runners stranded.
However, that 4-0 lead would not stand for very long. After a smooth start for Mike Wright in the first, he struggled through the second inning, but escaped the bases loaded jam by inducing a ground ball double play by Marwin Gonzalez which started with Machado on a nice shovel pass to Pearce who made a great turn to Davis for the double play. Still all looking good from over here.
Wright would struggle again in the third inning and this time the Astros would capitalize. With one down, George Springer would line a single to center field and Jose Altuve would bloop a hit into left field. In stepped Preston Tucker who smacked a hard grounder to second base. Pearce was in position to make the play, but the ball took a strange hop and launched over Pearce's head into right center field, 4-1 Orioles now. Next man up was Evan Gattis who took a Bruce Chen special from Mike Wright (change up, belt high, center of the plate) and hit it nearly clear out of Minute Maid Park, 4-4 tie. OOF. Orioles fans would not have long to stay that mad though as the very next hitter, Luis Valbuena, would hit a rocket into the right center field seats, 5-4 Astros. Now you can be even more mad. Wright settled down to finish with five innings pitched, eight hits, five runs, one walk, and four strikeouts.
Eventually, Wright would get out of the disastrous third inning. However, that is all the cushion the Astros would need on the night. The only base runners for the Orioles after the second inning were Travis Snider who walked in fifth inning and was then doubled off on a fly ball to center field because he forgot how many outs there were (are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?!) and Delmon Young who would single in the top of the ninth. Collin McHugh even after his terrible inning managed to twirl seven innings giving up only six hits, the four runs, two walks, and striking out six. The Orioles offense looked listless at best against McHugh who saved his team's bullpen and kept them within striking distance and held down the lead once they got it. It would be nice if this Orioles team could muster a similar effort.
The Orioles need some wins and they need them fast if 2015 is going to matter. The game tomorrow features Miguel Gonzalez against Lance McCullers at 8:10pm. Join us in the game thread to commiserate.