The last time the Orioles were shut out three games in a row, Dwight Eisenhower was the President of the United States. My parents were not yet born. The most-played song on American radio stations was (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear performed by Elvis Presley. Brooks Robinson had played in all of 37 major league games.
They reached that again this weekend in Boston, shut out three days running by former Oriole Rich Hill, the Boston Red Sox bullpen for a full game, and finally, this afternoon, Henry Owens for 7.2 innings plus a few bullpen friends. The Orioles had five hits all game, committed two errors in the outfield by botching relatively routine catches, and lost the game, 2-0.
The complete failure on offense served to ruin a nice enough game by Ubaldo Jimenez, who pitched seven innings and gave up both of the runs. One of those two runs scored on a wild pitch in the first inning. The other was a leadoff home run by Blake Swihart in the third inning. That was it. He only walked one batter in the game. Added to six hits, that is a WHIP of 1.00 for the day. That's a good day. If the Orioles had gotten this kind of game from their starting pitchers every game this year, they'd be running away with the division. Today it wasn't good enough because the offense, yet again, was bad.
There are no lovely totals to recap in this game. The team has not only killed their hopes, they have done so in the most painful way possible. I could talk more about the game but it would not make either one of us happy. So here is the box score. I will now resume where I left off in relating the plot of my favorite video game, Chrono Trigger. (Part I is here.)
Have fun storming the castle
When last we left our heroes, they were about to storm the gates of Magus, the evil wizard who created Lavos in the year 600 AD. What they find is not a pitched battle from a horde of enemies awaiting them, but rather gates that swing wide open, admitting them into the creepy inner sanctum. There they battle the various illusions, tricks, and traps laid down by Magus' three generals, Flea, Slash, and Ozzie (yes, really), at times fighting enemies in the form of their own loved ones, other times dodging blades that crash down on moving conveyor belts.
After battling each of the generals and beating them at their own game, putting Ozzie in a pickle by using his own contraptions against him, the way finally lies open to the deepest part of the keep, where Magus is even now attempting to summon Lavos, the great demon. They ascend steps, the surroundings eerie with the complete quiet. There is no sound. There are only monsters barring their path.
But eventually they make it into Magus' chamber. It is pitch black. They run in and magic fires light their way, ringing a circle of runes on the ground. Candles are lit on an altar, a demonic statue looms over everything, holding open flames in its palms. In the middle of these runes stands none other than Magus. A black wind howls as the battle is joined. Using the power of the legendary Masamune, the heroes are able to shatter Magus' defenses, though the fight is not easy.
As the fight ends, Magus is staggered. In the distance, unseen, the roar of Lavos is heard. "You fools!" exclaims Magus. "Why did you interrupt me?" For it turns out that Magus did not create Lavos but rather tried to summon him in order to fight him. That ritual interrupted, magic overloads and our heroes are sucked once again into the winds of time.
The red star rises
When our heroes awaken, they are back in 65,000,000 BC, in Ioka Village, under the care of their very old friend Ayla. They were found in the woods, nursed back to health. Of Magus there is no sign. It's good timing for Crono and friends to arrive in this, uh, time, as the Reptites are attacking villages.
The only way to stop them is to head to their lair, which, being as it is on an island in the middle of a field of lava, can only be reached by air. Good thing Ayla knows where to find the pterodactyls. It doesn't get a whole lot cooler than flying to war on the back of a pterodactyl.
In the Tyranno Lair, the party must battle through bigger and stronger dinosaurs, as well as Queen Azala of the Reptites herself - who happens to be riding on the biggest, baddest T-Rex you can imagine. Yikes. But the heroes are stronger, because they're the heroes, obviously. Beaten at last, Azala points to the sky, where a red star gleams. She knows the time of the Reptites is over, but the apes will fare no better when the red star arrives.
Ayla has a name for this star... Lavos. And it's coming closer and closer. In fact, it's going to crash right on top of them. They get the heck out of there ahead of the storm and Lavos comes crashing down from space, wiping out the Reptites. Back in Ioka Village, everyone already notices things are getting colder. An ice age is coming.
But that is not the heroes' problem, because obviously humanity evolves and makes it OK. What they need to do is stop Lavos... when better to do it than when he has just arrived? They return to the Tyranno Lair, hoping to find a way down into the core of the planet, where Lavos has burrowed. In the ruins they find no such place - only another time gate. They step through and find themselves in the middle of a snowy wasteland...
The Orioles still suck
...where hopefully we will not rejoin them again this year.
Only seven games remain to the Orioles. If they are going to finish .500 or better they must now go 5-2 in those games. It could be done, sure, but not if they play like they did this weekend.
The Blue Jays come to town on Monday to begin the last O's homestand of the season. The scheduled starters for the 7:05pm game are Marco Estrada and Chris Tillman. You may recall that Tillman has a 15.50 ERA in five starts against the Jays this year. Whoopdee-doo.