After getting completely demolished by the Nationals and Yankees over the past four games, there’s been a lot of ink today on how the O’s could “right the ship” against the last place White Sox.
The ship has not been righted. It has been sailed into a bay full of wildfire, ignited by a flaming arrow from the bow of Wade Miley, and blown into smithereens. The Blackwater’s on fire. There is no escape.
This game was just so, so, awful. The pitching was atrocious. The defense was poor. The offense was mediocre and missed opportunity after opportunity to score against a struggling starter. The 10-7 loss was, in other words, the exact game we’ve come to expect from this team in recent weeks.
Miley struggles again
After a great start to the season, Wade Miley is coming back to Earth in a big way. Miley got through the first inning with no damage but walked a batter with two outs in the second. This brought Kevan Smith, a catcher with a .191/.207/.270 career batting line, to the plate.
Naturally, Smith took Miley deep for a 2-0 lead and his first career home run. Miley got out of the inning after that, but he wouldn’t get out of the next one. After the first two batters reached base in the bottom of the third, Jose Abreu hit a sharp ground ball to Trey Mancini at first base that went right through him for an RBI single.
It was a difficult play, both because of the velocity off the bat and the fact that Melky Cabrera ran right in front of Mancini as the ball was getting to him. Still, it was a play that should have been made, and likely would have been made if Chris Davis was there. Why wasn’t he, you say? More on that later.
The next batter, Avisail Garcia, smoked a double off the wall into right center. Adam Jones fielded it well, but then aimlessly flung the ball over the cutoff man as if he was trying to get it home on the fly from the warning track. Instead, it allowed Abreu to score from first while the infielders scrambled to retrieve the errant throw.
A few batters later, after yet another RBI single made it 6-2, Miley was done. Ubaldo Jimenez entered to finish out the third inning, and escaped the inning without any further damage.
Honestly, you could’ve just skipped the first 383 words of this recap because “Ubaldo Jimenez entered to finish out the third inning” was all you needed to know.
Early missed opportunities at the plate
Miley’s opponent, Mike Pelfrey, was also quite bad. He walked five batters over the first three innings. Amazingly, the Orioles scored zero runs in those innings. That was primarily due to the fact that they hit into a double play in each one.
The O’s still had a chance to put up a crooked number in the third, when Pelfrey’s third walk of the inning loaded the bases for Chris Davis with two outs. Davis smoked one to right center, but it stayed in the park and was caught by Avisail Garcia to end the inning.
The lineup finally broke through in the fourth when Seth Smith hit an RBI double that would have scored two runs had it not bounced over the center field fence. Adam Jones picked up that run anyway with an RBI single to cut the lead to 6-2, but Smith was stranded at third.
Chris Davis injured?
After his aforementioned flyout to end the third inning, Chris Davis left the game and was replaced by Hyun Soo Kim, with Mancini moving to first. He didn’t show any obvious signs of injury during or after that bat, prompting Gary and Jim to speculate that he may have just been feeling under the weather.
Instead, reports began to come out that he left with an oblique injury. You may remember an oblique strain was what robbed Davis of a chunk of the 2014 season and rendered him ineffective for the rest of it.
This is, potentially, a big deal. On the same day the Orioles got Manny Machado back, they may have just lost one of their other key players. When it rains, it pours.
The starting pitching woes continue
Over the past six games, Orioles starting pitchers have the following line: 19.2 IP, 41 H, 34 ER, 19 BB, 17 K, 7 HR. That’s a 15.56 ERA and a 3.05 WHIP. There are sixteen qualified pitchers right now with an ERA lower than 3.05.
Since you’ve made your way to a baseball blog I imagine you already know these numbers are bad, but just for fun: since 1901, there have been 29,716 pitcher-seasons of at least 20 innings pitched.
There has never been such a season with a WHIP above 2.80. There has never been such a season with an ERA above 13.14. Simply put, if the Orioles starters from the past six days were one pitcher making his debut, that pitcher would be having the worst season of all time.
The starters’ FIP over those six games is “only” 8.90 FIP, so I suppose you could say they’ve been unlucky, but that would be kind of ridiculous, wouldn’t it? Just like some laws of physics, I’m pretty sure FIP starts to break down once it gets into some truly extreme conditions. The formula wasn’t built to handle this kind of ineptitude.
Even more amazing is that this run includes a quality start from Dylan Bundy on Friday. Take that start out, and I’d probably have to install more RAM into my laptop to calculate these numbers.
Since Bundy’s start, the Orioles’ starters have one strikeout in three games. They’ve allowed six home runs in those games. A K:BB ratio of six is pretty good. A HR:K ratio of six is less good.
The rest of the game
Ubaldo actually wasn’t completely terrible out of the bullpen, although he did allow two runs in the fourth. Chicago scored again in the fifth, which the box score says was an earned run, but it really shouldn’t be.
Seth Smith lost a ball in the lights, turning a flyout into a leadoff triple. That runner would score two pitches later on a sac fly, extending the lead to 9-2. Miguel Castro entered the game in the seventh, and served up a solo shot to Matt Davidson.
Meanwhile, Hyun Soo Kim hit into yet another inning-killing double play in the fifth, because why not. Kim made up for it in the eighth, with an RBI single after Mark Trumbo led off with a double.
Then, finally, the Orioles got a big fly. After Schoop followed Kim with a single, Mancini ripped a line drive that just cleared the right field fence for a three-run bomb. The homer cut the lead to 10-6.
In the ninth, Jonathan Schoop hit a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to 10-7. He was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double, despite the fact that the tying run still would have only been on deck. It was an unconscionably bad decision by Schoop. It was just a perfect ending to this game.
The Orioles’ run differential is now -43 for the season. It was -5 on Thursday morning. That run differential is now worse than every team in the AL except the Athletics and Royals.
Adam Jones often tweets about how he, or the team as a whole, needs to clean his “ish” up during a period of particularly sloppy or poor play. Well, everybody grab a mop.
The ish is overflowing out of the dugout and saturating the field. It has traveled from Washington to New York to Chicago, consuming everything, including the Orioles’ season, in its path.
If you feel compelled to watch tomorrow’s game, Alec Asher will face Derek Holland at 8:10 PM EST. I won’t blame you if you don’t.