For yet another night, the Orioles starting pitching was terrible and left the Orioles facing an early deficit. Although the O's furiously rallied late in the game, in the end their pitching was just too poor and they fell to the Yankees, 8-6, on Saturday night.
It was just another one of those nights, of which there have been entirely too many in recent days. Pick a stat to do with the starting pitching and it is probably awful. Like this one: Orioles starters have now allowed five or more runs in five straight games.
Or maybe this one: Over their last 18 games before today, Orioles starters pitched to a 6.49 ERA. (h/t MASN's Steve Melewski)
The culprit on Saturday night was Tyler Wilson. There was nothing particularly remarkable about his outing except that it was bad. For all of two innings, Wilson kept the New York offense off the board. A flurry of five hits in the fourth inning brought four runs across the plate.
Put simply, Wilson wasn't fooling anyone. When you can't strike anybody out, sometimes there will be nights where the BABIP dragon will roast you.
Not that it was entirely bad batted ball luck, either. Wilson just wasn't making good pitches, and that's why he was bounced from the game after only four innings while allowing a Tommy Hunter (five runs, all earned). With the Orioles busy looking helpless against Yankees starter Ivan Nova, the O's faced a 5-0 deficit by the time Wilson left the game.
Bundy in the fifth inning = bad sign
An early exit for Wilson meant an early entrance for Dylan Bundy. He wasn't much better on this particular night, at least for results. If you feel like being generous, it's true that a number of the five hits the Yankees got off of Bundy were just inches away from an O's fielder getting a glove on them.
One of the runs even ended up scoring on a double steal that wasn't entirely Bundy's fault.
Nonetheless, Bundy allowed a run to cross the plate in each of the fifth and sixth innings. This is about what you expect from him now. It's not an accident that it's early June and he has a 4.94 ERA. Until he shows us something different, this is who he is and this is what he will do.
Just for fun, we're back to hearing about whether or not Bundy should throw his cutter or slider or whatever you want to call it. There's apparently some concern throwing that pitch was what caused him arm troubles back in the Arizona Fall League.
The result of all of this is that the Orioles were down 7-0. It's hard to come back from seven runs down. You don't want to have to even attempt it. You especially don't want to have to do it when you've gotten all of three hits off of the opposing starting pitcher.
Nova had been cruising, and as the Fox broadcast helpfully showed, he's pitched better as he goes deeper into games this year, holding batters to a .200 average from pitches 51-75 and a .167 average from pitches 76-100 before tonight.
The O's offense gives it their best shot
This form did not carry over into tonight. Nova began the seventh inning by giving up a leadoff home run to Mark Trumbo, a mammoth blast that landed in the Yankees bullpen, causing the Baltimore cops stationed nearby to nervously scuttle to the side. The ball went 450 feet. Boom goes the dynamite.
Trumbo now leads the major leagues in home runs with 18.
But the Orioles still trailed by six runs. A lot would have to get weird for the game to get interesting. Weird like Matt Wieters beating out an infield single - which he did - and weird like Pedro Alvarez slapping an opposite field home run a few rows into the left field seats... which he did.
That's pretty weird and yet it was still just 7-3. They weren't done, though. Jonathan Schoop added a single to the tally, and Nova, clearly gassed, was left in to face Ryan Flaherty while the bullpen got warm. Nova ended up walking Flaherty before being pulled from the game.
The typical Yankees seventh inning guy, Dellin Betances, was on the shelf due to recent use. Binder-wielder Joe Girardi summoned Nick Goody from the bullpen to face leadoff man Adam Jones.
Who is Nick Goody and why did Girardi go to him instead of Andrew Miller? I have no idea, but I can tell you about his night.
Goody threw two pitches. The first one was a wild pitch that allowed both runners to advance, breaking up a chance at a potential easy double play. The second pitch was a big fat mistake out over the plate, and Jones obliterated that ball, a home run so glorious he just had to pause to admire its majesty before starting his trot.
I guess you could say Nick wasn't too Goody tonight. No? Alright, so maybe he was more like Nick Baddie. I'll stop now.
Joe Girardi gets serious
Although the Orioles pulled the deficit back to 7-6, it was time to get serious for Girardi and he brought in certified good reliever Andrew Miller, who wiped out the next three hitters he faced, including Chris Davis, who struck out for the fourth time on the night.
Davis looked like absolute garbage at the plate tonight, it must be said, though the four strikeouts was also a key clue about that.
Just for good measure, Miller pitched the eighth too and mowed three more guys down. Wieters got a pitch on a 3-0 count that he probably could have crushed, but he didn't, and that was that.
It wouldn't have particularly mattered whether the O's got a seventh run anyway. In the ninth inning, after a lefty-heavy stretch passed by, Brian Duensing was replaced by Vance Worley with one out and nobody on.
Worley promptly gave up a double to the first batter he saw, the sub-Markakian Aaron Hicks. Alex Rodriguez, who was ancient when this world was young, added a single up the middle to plate Hicks. Another hit from Starlin Castro put two men on, though Worley finally escaped the inning by getting Didi Gregorius to ground into a double play.
Still, the damage was done. The extra run crossed the plate, meaning that the Orioles would have to get two runs to tie the game against Aroldis Chapman, who was suspended at the beginning of the season under baseball's domestic violence policy.
It's no easy task to get anything going against a guy who can light a radar gun up to 102mph. Chapman injured his catcher, Austin Romine, during warmup tosses, for crying out loud. I have never seen that one before.
Anyway, nobody who batted had any real chance against Chapman. Jones waited out Chapman's wildness - I know! - and drew a walk with two out to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of Nolan Reimold, pinch hitting for Hyun Soo Kim. Reimold struck out looking and the game was over, just like that.
The Orioles should have probably tried giving up fewer than eight runs if they wanted to win this game. Boston triumphed 6-4 earlier in the day, meaning the O's fall back a game in the division once again.
The O's and Yankees will play the rubber game of this three-game set on Sunday afternoon, with a scheduled start time of 1:35. Some inclement weather seems to be in the forecast, so who knows, but for now that's the plan, with CC Sabathia and Kevin Gausman on the board as the expected starting pitchers.