There are a lot of ways to handle writing about a terrible loss by the Orioles, especially when that loss comes as part of a string of terrible losses. Sometimes you're driven by rage to write something really angry. Sometimes you're really sad. Sometimes you talk about something else altogether. Tonight I'm just kinda...here. The Orioles have lost to fall a game below .500 and I have accepted what they are.
I've said for most of the year that these Orioles aren't a bad team, and I still believe that. But they're not good enough, and right now they are playing bad baseball while a few teams ahead of them just never seem to lose.
I'm what you might call a pretty lazy person. I mean, I don't like to call myself that, but sometimes it just seems more important to watch the end of A Few Good Men than it does to get ready to go to my mom's house for dinner, for example. So I set these deadlines for myself like, "If I go clean the kitchen by 3 p.m., I'll definitely have enough time to get everything done before I have to leave the house." "Actually, I can probably make it until 3:15." "OK so I'll unload the dishwasher but not sweep or take out the trash and I'll be fine." "Forget the kitchen, I'll just clean it later. If I go upstairs by 4 I'll have to time take a shower and get there on time." That goes on until I'm running around like a maniac just to get there, and then I'm 10 minutes late and my mom rolls her eyes at me because I never get anywhere on time.
I feel like I've been doing that with the Orioles for awhile now. Sure, they're underachieving now, but if they can just manage a winning record on the west coast road trip they'll be in a good position. They're playing .500 ball but if they just have a good homestand they'll be right back in it, and we all know they're good at home! I don't know how many times I've said to myself that if the Orioles just start playing well RIGHT NOW, things could still work out for them!
All hope is not lost for the Orioles, this is true. But with their sixth straight loss tonight (four of which were to the Twins, for crying out loud), I'm putting that dream to rest. If some kind of miracle occurs and the Orioles actually do end up in the playoffs, I'll be as joyful as the rest of you. But I'm finished putting weird artificial deadlines on this team; they are cooked.
Are you interested in actually hearing about tonight's game? Well, alright then. I am here to serve you fine folks, after all. Miguel Gonzalez continued his descent into complete futility, failing to pitch five innings for the seventh time this season. He had a smooth first inning but then spent the next three and one-thirds trying to find the strike zone. Three of the six hits he allowed were on the ground, because Royals, but he also gave up his fair share of liners and one bomb to Kendrys Morales. Oh, and he walked three batters. Lovely. Ultimately the three runs he allowed was two too many to allow the Orioles to win, because the offense could only muster two runs on the night.
Both of those runs came in the top of the fourth inning after Matt Wieters worked a two-out walk off of Royals starter Danny Duffy. Steve Pearce followed that with a single, then hits by Jonathan Schoop and Caleb Joseph knocked them both in. Newest Oriole Paul Janish had a chance to tie the game, or even give the Orioles the lead, but he failed. He's not known for his bat, so it would have been pretty exciting if he had been able to do that.
The O's put two runners on with one out in the sixth inning, but couldn't score the tying run. It felt like it was their last chance on account of the Royals bullpen, and it was. Gerardo Parra doubled with two outs in the seventh inning, representing the tying run, but all that meant was that Ned Yost went from his B-team reliever (Luke Hochevar) to his A-team reliever, Kelvin Herrera. Herrera struck Adam Jones out on a 100 mph fastball to end the inning. And that was that.
The only Orioles to reach base more than once tonight was Wieters, who singled and walked twice, and Pearce, who singled twice. Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Chris Davis combined to go 0-for-13. The bullpen had a nice night as T.J. McFarland, Mychal Givens, Brian Matusz, and Darren O'Day combined to 4 ⅔ innings with no hits or runs allowed.
Tomorrow night the Orioles and Royals will play each other again. I'll be here for that too, I suppose.