Adam Jones, who was hitting .239/.311/.380 this month prior to tonight’s game, told reporters the Orioles are “playing with house money” down the final six-game stretch. Well if that’s true, the Orioles either left their wallets at home or didn’t bother showing up to the casino.
Another fruitless night of strikeouts, weak contact and runners stranded on base ended with the Orioles losing 5-1, and as we speak, the Tigers beating the hungover Indians 12-0, the Orioles Wild Card lead now sits at only one game. At the hope of padding their slim lead or even matching the stride of the team in the opposite dugout, the Orioles offense did what they’ve done so well this second-half of the season.
Granted, Aaron Sanchez was very, very good. Tossing 6.0 innings, his vicious sinker/curveball combination led to only one run on six hits and three walks, including 10 strikeouts. Of Sanchez’s 18 outs, 10 were via baseballs not put in play.
His lone blemish was the result of a 3rd inning, two-out Mark Trumbo bloop single, who scored J.J. Hardy after a leadoff double. Other than that, his night was relatively smooth.
Sanchez’s work around the four quadrants of the strike zone didn’t help Jonathan Schoop’s struggles, who struck out twice in four at-bats. He now has only 14 hits in 97 plate appearances this month. Jones struck out three times as well, with his only ball in play being the game ending ground ball double play.
The highlight of the evening was Chris Davis’ 6th inning ejection following his very own triage of strikeouts. Two of which were of the backwards variety.
Chris Davis doesn't really have much to complain about... All the pitches to him have looked pretty good tonight pic.twitter.com/HxWPVCyus6— Daren Willman (@darenw) September 28, 2016
Davis had been overmatched on the outer-half of plate by Sanchez’s running sinker for the entirety of his four at-bats, and after home plate umpire Will Little called what looked like a strike, a strike, Davis trailed to the dugout with a few very brief words. Whatever was said was probably enough to make Crash Davis smile, because it was short, sweet and right to the point.
Lunging out of the dugout was Buck Showalter, who had no time to defend his player. Showalter had his own song to sing, and was ultimately ejected as well.
Starter Kevin Gausman wasn’t as bad as his numbers may suggest, finishing 6.0 innings with five runs (four earned) on seven hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Other than leaving a 2-2 fastball over the plate to Josh Donaldson in the 1st inning that resulted in a two-run bomb, he really wasn’t all that bad.
The star of the night, Ezequiel Carrera, muscled a fastball on the outside corner for an opposite field solo shot in the 3rd inning, and in the 5th, got just enough bat on an inside fastball to send a soft single past J.J. Hardy, scoring the Jays fourth run. The nail in the coffin came later in the inning, when a potential double play ball was misplayed by Jonathan Schoop, who whiffed on the front-end throw from Manny Machado, as the baseball wound up in right field for Gausman’s fifth surrendered run.
Oliver Drake and Tommy Hunter finished the game tossing scoreless innings or the Orioles, while Joe Biagini and Roberto Osuna closed out the ball game for the Blue Jays. In reality, the night was over before it really got started.
The Orioles will attempt to cauterize the wound tomorrow night with Chris Tillman going up against new Blue Jay Francisco Liriano. Liriano, unqualified to be atop the leaderboard, actually leads baseball with a 12.1 BB% among pitchers with at least 150 innings pitched.
If the O’s are actually going to try to double up on their unexpected position, maybe they’ll gamble their winnings by, I don’t know, trying to get on base. And who knows, it could happen tomorrow.