Wade Miley pitched like crap again and the Orioles lost.
This is not an uncommon occurrence, what with Miley giving up a frankly unbelievable 33 earned runs in just 34.1 innings over his eight starts in an Orioles uniform. Miley was not the only bad Oriole on Monday night, but he was the worst one. The Orioles lost, 12-2.
You hardly need me to tell you that this was an important game for the Orioles. They needed to, if not win it, be competitive despite the deck being stacked against them - Miley on the mound, a tough lefty in David Price pitching for Boston. They instead got blown out and looked more like a last place team than a playoff contender.
Well, it was only one game, right? Just a really, really bad game, one so bad that it will depress you until the Orioles do something to blast this out of our memory banks. There are now just 19 games remaining. The Orioles can afford one game like this as long as there aren’t any more.
So, Miley... look, here’s the thing about Miley. Watching him pitch is probably worse than watching the worst version of an Ubaldo Jimenez start. Nothing works. Like, at all.
It’s an absolute mystery how anyone who ever consulted with or was employed by the Orioles could have ever looked at Miley and thought, “Let’s get this guy.” He’s been so much worse than any worst case scenario you might have conceived at the time of the trade.
In Monday’s game, Miley managed to give up six runs in just 1.1 innings pitched. That’s not a joke or a typo. That’s how horrible he was. He’s made eight starts now as an Oriole and two of them have been that horrible. None of the good ones have been THAT good.
A supposed selling point of the Miley trade is that the Orioles could have him for “only” about $9 million next year, but who would want this version of this guy for another year? Well, they’re stuck paying the $9 million regardless now, so we’ll probably get to find out whether or not there’s a better version of Miley than this.
When you tell yourself that you have to have a lefty in the rotation, so you trade for a guy with a 5 ERA because he’s a lefty, well, these are things that may happen. And by the way, let’s not forget that the Orioles traded Triple-A lefty Ariel Miranda for Miley. Miranda has pitched seven games for Seattle and his ERA is literally less than half of Miley’s.
The best thing you can say is that post-trade Bud Norris in 2013 didn’t do much to make you think that the 2014 version of Norris would be coming. But then, Norris was nowhere near as bad as Miley has been.
If one wants to be fair to Miley - and with a pitching line like that, I surely do not - one might hang one’s hat on the fact that Miley was screwed pretty hard by his defense in a five run first inning. The second batter of the game, Xander Bogaerts, hit the kind of grounder that usually ends up with Manny Machado making a nice play, but instead Machado booted the ball.
I said the second batter because Dustin Pedroia had already singled, and the Vandal, David Ortiz, came up to the plate. Ortiz hit a fly ball just shy of the Monster that not-a-real-outfielder Steve Pearce managed to track down and almost catch, but then when he took another step - without even running into the wall - he dropped the ball, loading the bases with no one out. That’s not so good.
A real outfielder probably catches the ball. A real outfielder probably doesn’t look quite so bad on the subsequent double hit by the newest Orioles destroyer, Mookie Betts. Just look at this video. What is he doing out there? He’s not helping the Orioles win any damn baseball games, that’s for sure. Could a better left fielder have caught this ball? Maybe. A better left fielder could have at least kept two runs from scoring on the play.
The next batter, Hanley Ramirez, added a single that was a legit single and Ortiz scored. Except it went to Pearce again - of course - and Pearce was caught completely napping on the play and Betts managed to score when the ball was just casually thrown in to the infield. It was the kind of embarrassing play that should never happen to a big leaguer.
A sacrifice fly added a fifth Boston run, just in the first inning. You can’t blame Miley for all of them, but who wants to give the guy with a near-9 ERA as an Oriole the benefit of the doubt? Especially when Miley went on to give up two singles and a walk in the second inning to load the bases with one out. That walk, to Ortiz, loading the bases, was the final straw for Buck Showalter.
Miley was relieved by Vance Worley, who also wasn’t good, and Worley was relieved by Oliver Drake, who, likewise, wasn’t good. Drake was relieved in turn by Brian Duensing, who, if you can believe it, wasn’t good either. Finally, in the eighth inning, Jayson Aquino kept Boston off the scoreboard for the first time all game, denying them a bid to become just the 20th team in MLB history to score in every inning of a game.
You’re not going to win many games where that happens. You’re not going to win many games where you get only two hits, either, and that’s what the Orioles did against Price as he pitched for eight innings. Both hits were home runs, in Orioles fashion - Chris Davis hit his 37th while Machado hit his 35th - but that was all they got.
Elsewhere, the Blue Jays won and so did the Tigers, so the Orioles now have sole possession of the second wild card spot, but they’re just a game ahead of Detroit with 19 to play. They now trail the Red Sox by three games in the division with two remaining in this series.
As bad as the game was, it was only one loss. No one who matters had to pitch. They’ll be back at it tomorrow with a score of 0-0 when the game begins. Maybe that could even turn into a good thing. Dylan Bundy and Drew Pomeranz are the scheduled starters for the 7:10 contest on Tuesday.