When you go up against a great starter like the Mets' Jacob deGrom, there's not any room for error. Even if everything goes perfectly, any team, especially the Orioles, is going to be hard-pressed to find a way to pull off a win. A singularly terrible game by Jonathan Schoop cost the Orioles a total of three runs in a game that they ended up losing, 5-3 on Tuesday night.
I don't want to pile too much on a guy that's been one of the O's better players this season. He was a disaster area tonight, though. Why? Who knows? But he was bad. He committed two errors, one of which directly contributed to the Mets scoring two runs, and made another awful misplay that was not scored an error but nonetheless cost yet another run. Losing a game by two runs with three easily-preventable runs, well, it sucks.
The Orioles played from behind the whole way. Mets right fielder Curtis Granderson led off the game with a home run, his seventh leadoff homer of the season. That is a new Mets record. Not an auspicious beginning for O's starter Kevin Gausman, who must have been feeling like he'd need to be perfect when squaring off against deGrom. He certainly wasn't bad, but he definitely was not perfect.
deGuy with de2.03 ERA pushes it even lower
Though the O's had something resembling a promising beginning against deGrom, causing him to throw 20 pitches in the first inning of the game, that ended up meaning very little. They never truly threatened against him, although Gerardo Parra did put the O's on the board with a solo home run in the sixth inning. Despite that early high pitch count, deGrom went on to throw 7.2 innings on 100 pitches. He only gave up five hits and a walk in that time.
The closest the O's came to building a rally against deGrom was in the fifth inning. J.J. Hardy sliced a two-out double into the right field corner. Urrutia got that unicorn, a base hit with a runner in scoring position, right afterward. Regrettably, this base hit was a liner into left that bounced right to Michael Conforto, and O's third base coach Bobby Dickerson inexplicably decided to send the notoriously-slow Hardy on the play, even though Hardy hadn't even rounded third as Conforto was fielding the ball.
Would Manny Machado have done anything with first and third with two outs? We'll never know. It felt like Hardy was sent out of desperation to get anything against deGrom. It was a horrible send and instead they got nothing.
With that dominance, deGrom, who entered the game with a 2.03 ERA, lowered his season mark to below 2. He now sports, along with glorious, flowing hair, a 1.98 ERA. That's just bonkers.
When the O's finally got deGrom out of the game, they trailed 3-1. The second of the Mets runs came in the third inning, and it had no business scoring at all. Shortstop Wilmer Flores, with a new lease on life after the Mets traded him and then didn't trade him, grabbed a one-out single. He still stood on first with two outs when third baseman Daniel Murphy hit a double into the left field corner.
On this play, Mets third base coach Tim Teufel made like the Windmill and kept spinning even though left fielder Henry Urrutia fielded it cleanly and fired right to the cut off man. Flores should have been dead to rights at home... except the cutoff man, Schoop, bobbled the relay. No error was charged, but this horrible play definitely cost the Orioles the run.
The third Mets run was another Granderson home run, basically on the exact same pitch from Gausman in the exact same location. Well, oops. Gausman ended up stretching out to six innings, tossing 109 pitches, 71 of which were strikes. He gave up six hits and a walk, with three earned runs allowed. The two home runs were what hurt him.
Jonathan Schoop and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day
Though they finally dipped into the Mets bullpen in the eighth, they fell further behind before they could start to rally. This, again, can be heavily blamed on Schoop, who made another blunder as part of a two-run Mets ninth. With O's reliever Mychal Givens entering his second inning of work, there was an easy double play ball hit to Manny Machado at third base - this play should have erased the leadoff single of Michael Conforto and Flores as well. Machado fielded cleanly and threw to second, where Schoop simply dropped the ball. Everyone was safe.
That was the second Schoop error of the game. The other did not end up costing the O's any runs. This one... did. Now with two men on and one out, the O's summoned Brad Brach into the game. Brach walked Granderson on four pitches before getting Murphy to hit into a sacrifice fly. That Juan Lagares, who pinch ran for Conforto. This run should have been out at second if not for the Schoop error. On a Brach wild pitch, Flores also scored.
This second run was charged as earned to Givens, because "you can't assume the double play," which is a stupid rule. That's the first run charged to Givens in his MLB career and it happened on a wild pitch when he wasn't even in the game. Well, life isn't fair.
Those two runs put the Mets up 5-1, so even when they Metsed in the ninth, it was just a bit too far to go. After his team got the insurance runs, Mets manager Terry Collins had his closer, Jeurys Familia, sit down, instead opting to stick with Tyler Clippard, who got the last out of the eighth inning. Clippard retired Adam Jones but then walked Chris Davis, 0-3 with 3 Ks up to that point, and gave up a bloop single to Matt Wieters.
Almost only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and nuclear missiles
The tying run was now on deck. A save situation, for which Collins then went to Familia, who warmed a second time. First, Schoop. The best you can say is he did not ground into a double play to end the game. He did helplessly strike out on four pitches. The Orioles still had an out worth of life and they made some more with that life.
Steve Clevenger, also working on an 0-fer, hit a slow-roller to the second baseman, former Oriole Kelly Johnson. Familia and first baseman Lucas Duda almost collided as they both ran to first and Johnson's throw ended up pulling Duda off the bag. Clevenger was safe with a single and just like that the tying run was at the plate in the form of Hardy, who ended up drawing a walk to force in a run.
Maybe it was an intentional pitch-around? Next after Hardy was Urrutia, who has never had either a walk or non-misplayed extra-base hit in his MLB career. So of course he spat on five pitches, four of which were out of the strike zone, to force in another run and bring up Machado, tying run on second, winning run on first. After all the excitement, he grounded out to first. Game over.
Nothing they can do except try again tomorrow. Hopefully Schoop will not have any more days like this. Wednesday's 7:05 scheduled start time will feature starting pitchers Ubaldo Jimenez and Noah Syndergaard. The Mets starter has yet to win a game on the road.
At this writing, both the Yankees and Blue Jays are winners, so the O's lose ground in their long-shot bid to chase down their divisional rivals. The Angels are ahead of the White Sox. If that score holds, the O's will fall to half a game back in the race for the second wild card spot. They have only themselves to blame.