As the final score indicates, it wasn’t exactly a great night for the Orioles in Tampa Bay. In fact, statistically speaking, it was one of the worst games of the season for Buck Showalter’s group. Below, the details of a tough AL East loss for the Birds.
Whatever rhythm Ubaldo Jimenez found in last weekend’s start against the Cardinals was not evident on this night to say the least. Early on, the trouble with control reared its ugly head and quickly turned this game into a disappointment for the Orioles.
After Chris Archer began the game with a scoreless frame, Jimenez simply couldn’t find the zone. Both Mallex Smith and Corey Dickerson drew walks — the latter on four pitches — and a passed ball by Welington Castillo put them in scoring position for Evan Longoria. The game’s first major run-scoring opportunity was presented, and Longoria didn’t miss out.
On a 2-2 breaking ball, the Rays three-hole hitter got just enough of the pitch to poke it in front of Adam Jones for a base hit. Both Smith and Dickerson scored, putting a pair of runs on the board before Jimenez could record an out. That made it 2-0 Tampa Bay, but the Rays didn’t stop there.
The next batter, Logan Morrison, worked a 3-2 count and roped a high fastball to the wall in right-center. To be sure, it was one of “those nights” for Ubaldo. Longoria scored, and Morrison would go on to cross the plate on an RBI groundout to tack on Tampa Bay’s fourth run of the inning. Not a great way to kick off a series-opener.
Jimenez would finish the first, but not before tossing 36 pitches and flashing further issues with command.
You could most certainly draw up better (and cleaner) starts to baseball games, but what fun would that be? Where there’s one crooked number, there tend to be plenty more that follow — and fortunately for the Orioles, the next crooked number of the game went in Chris Archer’s earned run column.
The middle of the O’s lineup struck back quickly for a pair of runs in the top of the second courtesy of back-to-back-to-back singles by Mark Trumbo, Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini.
The inning could’ve packed even more punch, but Castillo followed Mancini’s RBI single by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play to clear the bases and somewhat get Archer out of the jam. Still, it cut Tampa Bay’s lead in half to 4-2 heading into the bottom of the second.
Things were looking up — that is, until the Rays got the opportunity to get the bats back into their hands and help the Orioles tie the Major League record for most consecutive games giving up at-least five runs.
That mark was reached with a Longoria sacrifice fly in the bottom of the second, but that was far from the most concerning problem at The Trop on this night. In the bottom of the third inning, Tampa Bay took command and crushed any chance of Jimenez finishing the game with a positive final line.
After a leadoff walk, Shane Peterson crushed a no-doubter to right field that went at-least a dozen rows deep to give the Rays a 7-2 advantage. And just three batters later with a runner on following a single, Derek Norris took an 88 MPH fastball and barely cleared the wall but managed the same result: two more runs on the board for the home team.
With Tampa up 9-2, Jimenez’s night was finished after just two and a third innings. The final line was not an ideal one — 2.1 IP, 7 H, 9 ER, 4 BB, 1 K. His season ERA is now at 7.26.
Jonathan Schoop hit his 22nd double of the season and knocked in two runs in the top of the fourth to make the score a bit more respectable, however Alec Asher’s inability to find the strike zone proved costly in the fifth. He tossed a scoreless fourth, but Asher couldn’t make it out of what was a disastrous fifth inning.
In short, it was an ugly inning in a very ugly game for the Orioles. Following an infield single, Asher walked Smith on four pitches and lost Dickerson on a 3-2 count to award another free pass to load the bases. That forced Buck Showalter to make another call to the bullpen, but the struggles wouldn’t be stopped.
Miguel Castro entered and walked in a run, but the real trouble was the performance of the defense behind him.
Mancini failed to field a ground ball cleanly that led to a run, poor execution that will be largely forgotten about due to the play that followed — a weak grounder to Ruben Tejada. The O’s shortstop couldn’t make the routine throw to Schoop at second and the ball rolled into the outfield to help Tampa Bay score two more. It was a sequence that doesn’t happen too often in Major League parks.
Castro allowed one more run on a sacrifice fly, but the fifth inning ended with the score that says it all — 14-4 Rays.
The later innings did not bring about a miraculous comeback, instead it was a relative limp to the finish for a game that was over at just about the halfway mark on this Friday night.
Darren O’Day pitched a scoreless inning in his return to the mound and Mancini hit an RBI double to add a late run for the Orioles, the good news that this recap will end on. The season Mancini is having having shouldn’t be ignored, even with Aaron Judge doing Aaron Judge things with the Yankees. Over this rough summer stretch, Mancini been consistent.
With the 15-5 loss, the Orioles fall to 35-38 with two more games against the Rays this weekend. Dylan Bundy takes the hill tomorrow for a 4:05 p.m. ET first pitch.