The 2017 Orioles nightmare is finally over. Here’s hoping they wake up from it before next season. Their lone October game went much like September, with little offense to speak of and pitching that turned out to be bad enough that it wouldn’t have mattered if the offense was any good, anyway. They dropped the finale to the Rays, 6-0.
In the end, the Orioles lost the battle to stay out of last place. The Blue Jays beat the Yankees on the season’s final day, so the O’s have last all to themselves. This is a team that deserves to be in last. They finished the season with a 7-22 stretch. That’s not quite the 4-32 bombing of the 2002 team, but it’s not far off.
Along with all of the other horrible things about this game, it sealed that the Orioles will end the season with the worst starting rotation in MLB. That’s not the fault of today’s starter, Kevin Gausman, however - or at least not today. Gausman contributed plenty of bad outings earlier in the season.
Although the game’s score might suggest something else, Gausman was good, holding the Rays to just one run on six hits in seven innings of work. The lone real mistake he made was when he served up a solo home run to Rays catcher Curt Casali. That was annoying, but that was it for damage against Gausman. He was good. Basically no one else on the Orioles was any good today.
Gausman finishes the season with a 4.68 ERA. It could have been worse. For a while this year, it was.
The game itself got worse. That can be laid at the feet chiefly of Brad Brach, who came on to pitch the eighth inning looking to keep the game at its 1-0 score. Yes, that’s right: The Orioles were only losing by a run heading into the bottom of the eighth. Then, Brach happened, and following that, Mike Wright happened.
After getting a strikeout to start the inning, Brach gave up four consecutive base hits to Rays hitters, scoring two runs. That’s not even the bad part. Brach walked the next two batters he saw, loading up the bases again and then forcing in a run.
That was enough for Buck Showalter, who brought in Wright to try to limit any further damage. When you’re bringing in Wright into a bases loaded situation in hopes of it getting better, you’re in a desperate place already.
Wright made like Wright. He walked the first batter he saw to force in yet another run. A sacrifice fly plated the sixth Rays run, and the fifth run of the inning. All five of the runs were charged to Brach. Wright walked yet another guy before getting a fly ball to right field to end the inning.
The Orioles offense had long since folded up the tents and headed into the offseason. They closed out the season by racking up a season-high 18 strikeouts. The only surprising thing is that it took them until now to have that many in a game.
The O’s had just three hits in the game. One might be forgiven for coming away from this game with the impression that hitters on both teams did not particularly want to be there and wanted to get it over with. Having watched this team all year, I’m right there with them on that. This nightmare is finally over. Thank goodness.
Some team other than the Orioles will win the World Series this year. Their championship drought continues to span my entire lifetime. Maybe next year will be their year, although if they don’t get a better starting rotation, probably not.
The next real Orioles game is 178 days away.