They went and did the one thing they really couldn’t afford to do. The Orioles hosted the Red Sox at Camden Yards this week for a big, four-game series and got swept and looked pretty pitiful while doing so. It all ended on Thursday when they dropped the finale 5-3 with the lone offense coming from a rookie who had made his debut just a few days earlier.
Usually, when Chris Tillman has started a game for the 2016 Orioles, it has been a good thing. But the team’s ace turned in one of his most disappointing performances of the year tonight.
The Birds went behind pretty much right away. In the top of the first inning, Mookie Betts singled (of course, he did!) with two outs. Then, David Ortiz walked and Hanley Ramirez singled to score Betts and give the BoSox a 1-0 advantage.
In the second inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. led off with a triple to the right field corner. Not usually a good thing for the pitcher. Sandy Leon singled to score him. Tillman managed to get the next two guys out, but then pretty much fell apart on the mound. A Brock Holt single and Betts walk loaded the bases for David Ortiz. Don’t worry, nothing too crazy happened, but Ortiz did walk to bring in Leon. And that was the end of Tilly’s night. Vance Worley came in to relieve him and managed to get out of the jam.
With the way the O’s offense has struggled, it was clear Tillman needed to be great. He was no where near it. His line: 1.2 innings, three runs, five hits, three walks, two strikeouts and he did so on 63 pitches. If it were July, maybe Buck Showalter would have let him go a little longer. But it was clear he didn’t have “it” out there.
Trey Mancini is laying some serious groundwork to make sure he is a favorite for the 2017 Rookie of the Year Award. At the very least, he is proving to his manager that he belongs in the bigs. With both Mark Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez likely headed out the door this winter, that DH spot could belong to Mancini. Can you tell that I’m trying to grasp at the positives here?
After hitting a home run against Eduardo Rodriguez on Tuesday, Mancini launched ANOTHER dong tonight. This one, however, came against a former Cy Young award winner and at a clutch moment.
With Chris Davis and Manny Machado aboard via singles, Mancini smacked an Earl Weaver Special into the left field bleachers, tying things up at three runs apiece. Again, his family was pretty darn happy about it!
Offensive woes continue
And that is where the good feelings really ended for Baltimore. Mancini actually did manage to get on base two more times on the night. He led off the sixth inning with a double, but was stranded. And he was hit by a pitch near the wrist in the eighth inning. He looked to be in fine shape running the bases, so no injury worries there.
From the fourth inning through the end of the game, the Orioles sent 21 hitters to the plate. In that span, the offense went 1-for-19 with eight strikeouts, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The one hit was Mancini’s double. The walk was by Drew Stubbs. You don’t win baseball games with those numbers.
All the other stuff
Worley came in for Tillman and did a pretty nice job if we wanna talk about something good. He went 3.1 innings and struck out four, but he also issued four walks and that would ultimately bite him.
In the top of the fifth, Travis Shaw led off with a walk. Worley struck out the next two, but then Shaw advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Technically, yeah it was a wild pitch, but it went between Caleb Joseph’s legs behind the plate. Mistakes happen, but you don’t see major league catchers miss basic pitches in the dirt like that too often. Of course, then Andrew Benintendi singled to bring in Shaw and give Boston the lead once again.
The other Boston run came in the seventh inning. It wasn’t exactly surprising. Lefty Donnie Hart was pitching. Righties are hitting .316 against him. Hanley Ramirez was hitting. He is batting .355 against lefties. Not the best matchup for the Orioles. Ramirez hit a solo home run. Shocking. 5-3 Red Sox.
Oh yeah, the O’s honored David Ortiz by gifting him the broken bullpe phone that he smashed in 2013. Sigh....it was so much funnier before the game started.
Overall, this series was downright embarrassing for the Orioles. The offense scored a total of eight runs and the pitching allowed 20 runs. Of course, not all of those were earned. Chris Davis made a massive five-run error in the third game that likely cost the Birds the win. And lest we not forget the much talked about attendance. The crucial series averaged 21,624 fans. Sometimes, baseball is a real bummer.
Hopefully the Diamondbacks coming to town will make things better. The O’s start a three-game series with them tomorrow. But Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.77 ERA) is on the hill. The good news: Shelby Miller (2-12, 6.90) pitches for Arizona. First pitch is 7:05 and there is a Hyun Soo Kim t-shirt for all fans in attendance.