And you know what's even worse than it being bad? That it actually makes me sad. Don't get me wrong, I am not longing for the dark days of yore, not even close. But having expectations for a team and watching them fail to meet them is its own kind of pain, one that didn't touch me in the days of 90+ losses. I know it seems early for these kind of doldrums, and maybe it is. But this was a pretty big series for the Orioles, about as big as a series in July can be, and they blew it.
Kevin Gausman was back today, ostensibly for the rest of the season unless they trade for a starter. He pitched six innings with four runs allowed, but four of those innings were ranged from pretty good to quite good. That doesn't take the sting out of the meatballs he served up to Mark Teixeira (1st inning, a two-run dinger) and Alex Rodriguez (6th inning, solo shot), nor does it make it any less frustrating that in one inning managed to both give up a double to the rotting corpse of Carlos Beltran and walk Stephen Drew, who came into the game hitting .181/.255/.369. Hopefully the Orioles will give Gausman the chance to get into a routine in the rotation rather than send him packing the way they have so many times before.
The Orioles offense was up to its usual tricks, putting men on base and failing to get them in. The most frustrating part of the night for me came in the fifth inning when Yankees starter Ivan Nova lost the strike zone and walked J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty back-to-back with no outs. The Orioles were down 3-2 at that point and it felt like this was their big chance. But instead of seeing what the suddenly wild Ivan Nova would do, Caleb Joseph dropped down a bunt to move the runners up. The Orioles, of course, did not score either of those baserunners.
I mean, I get the logic behind the bunt, especially with the score so close. But the dude had just walked two batters in a row with a hitter-friendly ump behind the plate. And one of those walks was to J.J. Hardy, who has drawn 11 walks all year. But instead of seeing if he'll walk another guy, or throw a meatball just to get into the strike zone, Joseph bunted! He gave them an out when they were having trouble getting one on their own. The free out was just what Nova needed as he went on to retire the next six batters before his night was finished.
Not to be lost in an otherwise dreary night was a great day at the plate by Flaherty. He was starting a game for the first time since July 11th and starting at first base for the first time this season. He got the Orioles on the board in the third inning with a two-run homer that pulled the Orioles within one run, and he drew a walk in the fifth inning after starting the at-bat 0-2. In the seventh inning he faced tough lefty Chasen Shreve and worked an eight-pitch at-bat before flying out to Brett Gardner in foul territory. We see you, sassy Ryan Flaherty.
The Orioles third and final run came on an FUHR in the ninth inning by Chris Davis. Nice to see it off of a guy like Andrew Miller, but too little, too late buddy.
The Orioles will try to avoid the sweep in a day game tomorrow, so those of us who have day jobs can pretend like that game doesn't exist. Ubaldo Jimenez will start for the Orioles against Masahiro Tanaka.