The Orioles were no-hit by Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma on Wednesday afternoon. It was the seventh time in Orioles history that they were no-hit. They lost the game, 3-0.
The last time the Orioles were no-hit, you probably remember, was the second major league start ever made by Red Sox greaseball Clay Buchholz. That was September 1, 2007. I remember it particularly well because it was a Saturday night that happened to be the night a friend of mine got married. I still remember it despite the fact that another friend announced at the start of the night, "Mark, if you're not passed out drunk in the grass by the end of the night, I'm going to be very disappointed in you."
I never passed out that night, so I guess I disappointed my friend. I did partake of an open bar. I remember it all very clearly despite drinking ... ... ... responsibly (my sister drove me home). Towards the end of the evening I got into a vehement argument with someone, I forget why, where they gave me a hard time for being so die-hard about the Orioles, who were, you also probably remember, terrible that year. We found our way to a television, where I sought out the Orioles game score as proof to show they did not suck. That was when I learned the no-hitter was complete. I think my response was to down a screwdriver. No screwdrivers this afternoon.
At least it's not 2007 any more
The 2015 Orioles are not a terrible baseball team. I mean, just look at this lineup that got no-hit by Buchholz. They were 21 games behind the division leader after that no-hitter. And Garrett Olson started that game! Kevin Gausman started this game for the Orioles. We've come a long way in nearly eight years. That said, there is a very good chance the 2015 Orioles are just not good enough - and we saw some of that in action in this unfortunately historic game.
It's hard for even good pitchers to get no-hitters. The odds are not in any pitcher's favor, even Clayton Kershaw against the worst offense you can picture. Baseball is hard. Pitching is hard, doing it almost flawlessly is even harder.
But if there WAS going to be a no-hitter thrown, surely it's not as much of a surprise when it's against a lineup that includes the likes of Ryan Flaherty (now 0 for his last 33, I believe), Jimmy Paredes (.185 average over the last 28 days before today), and David Lough (batting .100 in only 21 PA over the last 28 days). That's nine nearly free outs right there. You're a third of the way done already. Iwakuma did not miss his chance to get outs against these slumping or awful hitters.
And yet, Gausman faced his share of slumping or awful hitters as well and he did not fare nearly so well against them. Though Gausman pitched a game that we'd remember well if not for the fact that his offense got no-hit, he made his share of frustrating mistakes. In fact, of the six hits he gave up in seven innings of work, five were doubles - two hit by the struggling Austin Jackson, and one by backup catcher Jesus Sucre, the guy who is so bad that he sits so that Mike Zunino and his .523 OPS can be in the lineup.
A good day for Gausman, all things considered
It was actually a good outing by Gausman to make it seven innings at all, because he labored through the first three innings of the game, racking up an uncomfortable amount of pitches early on. That he held on to go seven innings and spare some work for a tired bullpen is a good job by him. Gausman struck out eight batters and only walked two. You can't expect or demand perfection from a pitcher, even when perfection on Gausman's part is the only way he could have been the better pitcher today.
When you go seven innings and give up three runs, most days you're going to win. Even three runs was more than Gausman deserved to have charged to him; one Seattle run scored on this single by Robinson Cano, which featured a throw towards home plate by Lough that made you wonder if he was momentarily confused and thought he was at a bowling alley. The ball practically rolled to home plate. "Nothing, zero, nada," said Jim Palmer in response to the throw, on which he justifiably harped throughout the game.
By the way, Iwakuma was making his 88th career MLB start today and before this game he had never even thrown a complete game. Now that's getting no-hit in style. Walks by Manny Machado, Chris Davis, and Jonathan Schoop were all that spared the O's being on the wrong end of a perfecto.
What else can you say about this team? They rather desperately needed to start turning their season around in this Seattle series. What they got instead was last night's Chris Tillman stink and bullpen chicanery for the second time in three games, and then, today, they got no-hit. They are six games back in the loss column from the AL East lead and they're three games back in the loss column from even being the road team in the wild card game. They are a bare one game over .500.
They need to start moving up. They're 5-6 in August so far. The light grows more dim every game they lose. They needed this series and what they got instead was suck.
There will be an off day tomorrow while the team heads back east. They could probably use the day to clear their heads. We could certainly use a day where we don't have to watch them. They'll be back in action on Friday at Camden Yards against the Athletics at the standard civilized baseball time of 7:05. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jesse Chavez are the scheduled starters for the series opener.