The ongoing disaster that is the Orioles season, or at least the month of May, continues in Houston on Sunday afternoon. There is, at least, some small reason to have hope: This was supposed to be the turn of Ubaldo Jimenez in the rotation, but he has been bounced to the bullpen in favor of Alec Asher. Let's hope this is not the kind of game where Jimenez ends up pitching anyway.
Adam Jones is out of the lineup for a second straight day due to a sore ankle and hip. J.J. Hardy is also out of the lineup. The Orioles will have to try to halt a six game skid before it stretches to seven games or more without those guys. They have not had a seven game losing streak since the 2011 season. None of the successful or even mediocre teams of the Dan Duquette era ever lost so many games in a row. If these Orioles do, it could be a sign that they aren't actually as good as everyone wanted to believe they were.
The Astros, it must be said, are pretty good. Their starting pitcher today, Lance McCullers, is also pretty good. In a vacuum, there's no shame in losing to them. But the Orioles aren't in a vacuum. They're in a reality where they were already coming off a sweep at the hands of the Twins (who are also a first place team) and they're next going to have a series against the division-leading Yankees.
Good teams find a way to win games, which the Orioles did plenty of over the first month of the season. If the Orioles are a good team, they'll get back to finding a way to win games. They may also end up revealing that they aren't a good team after all.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||HOUSTON ASTROS|
|Seth Smith - RF||George Springer - CF|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Josh Reddick - RF|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Jose Altuve - 2B|
|Mark Trumbo - DH||Carlos Correa - SS|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Carlos Beltran - DH|
|Welington Castillo - C||Evan Gattis - C|
|Hyun Soo Kim - LF||Marwin Gonzalez - 3B|
|Joey Rickard - CF||Yulieski Gurriel - 1B|
|Paul Janish - SS||Norichika Aoki - LF|
|Alec Asher - RHP||Lance McCullers - RHP|