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Orioles can’t overcome Asher’s clunker, lose in Washington 6-1

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The O’s made a quick stop in Washington. Alec Asher was terrible, the offense was just as bad, and the defense was sloppy.  That is not a recipe for victory.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

On May 11 of this year, Dylan Bundy was set to pitch opposite A.J. Cole in Washington to round out a four game home-and-home set against the Washington Walgreens. Going into that night, the Orioles were sitting pretty at 22-11 for the season, atop the AL East and half a game better than the Gnat’s 22-12 record. Things have changed.

Both teams were missing significant pieces from their respective lineups tonight—with Adam Jones (available) and Manny Machado (day-to-day) out for the birds, and Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon not currently at the corner of happy or healthy for the Walgreens.

It turns out the Gnats were just resting like, half of their regulars but, in the end they still walked all over the O’s. Does this count as a one game sweep? The world may never know.

The Gnats didn’t waste any time getting to work tonight. In the bottom of the first, Alec Asher issued a leadoff walk to Trea Turner. Asher struck out Wilmer Difo after going full, but in the meantime, Turner was busy swiping second and third base respectively. Bryce Harper hit a ball to J.J. Hardy, but beat it out. It was scored an infield single and an RBI, with Turner crossing the plate. 1-0 Washington.

Adam Lind singled to advance Harper to second, and then Matt Wieters flied out to Trey Mancini. Harper advanced to third on the play. Asher continued to labor, going deep in counts to almost everybody, and Stephen Drew slapped a ground ball past a diving Chris Davis at 3B (oof!) to score Harper. 2-0 Washington. A Michael Taylor double down the RF line coupled with a poor relay from the O’s scored two in the very next at-bat. 4-0 Washington.

Asher got finally got out of the inning because Buck Showalter issued an intentional walk to Brian Goodwin so that Asher could almost unintentionally walk the opposing pitcher before striking him out for the third out. He would tally 41 pitches in the first inning and the tone for the game was set early.

The Orioles went 1-2-3 in the top of the second inning, with Alec Asher continuing to be bad in the bottom. Trea Turner led off again, this time singling. Wilmer Difo struck out again, and Bryce Harper followed with a walk. The pair of Turner and Harper embarrassed the O’s with a perfectly executed double steal, and then Adam Lind hit a sac fly to score Turner. Matt Wieters came up and popped out to shallow RF. Asher looked about as bad as he did in the first, but the Gnats only scored one run. 5-0 Washington.

The Orioles went 1-2-3 again in the third, but Alec Asher managed to “only” allow a walk, a fielder’s choice (which in fairness should probably have been a 6-4-3 DP but-for Schoop losing the ball on transfer), and *one* stolen base in the bottom half of the inning. The Orioles went 1-2-3 yet again in the fourth, and Asher continued to do his best to try to give up runs in the bottom half of the inning. The Gnats decided they didn’t need any more this time around, though.

Through four and a half innings, Joe Ross (he of the 7+ ERA coming into the night) had retired 13 in a row, struck out 10, and and had only allowed one base runner total. Alec Asher had thrown 100 pitches, given up five runs (all earned), on 7 hits, 4 walks, and had allowed 5 stolen bases. I shudder to think what the game would have looked like at this point if Alec hadn’t managed six strikeouts of his own. It was Ubaldo time—for better or for worse.

It certainly started out “for worse,” as Stephen Drew promptly greeted Jiménez with a mammoth solo-shot. 6-0 Washington. Ubaldo got the next three guys, but it continued to not even matter because Joe Ross struck out two more O’s in the top of the sixth, reaching 12 K’s on the night. Seth “Dad” Smith hit a ground ball that got through the infield, and Ross’s 15-consecutive-batter-retired streak was done.

Ubaldo ended up actually pitching considerably well, but like I said above, it didn’t really matter. He went three innings and posted a final line of 3.0IP 1H 1R 0BB 5SO. The Orioles managed a run in the seventh when Trumbo hit a double, advanced to third on a Mancini swinging bunt, and scored on a Rickard single into left.

Again, small potatoes in the grand scheme of the game, but at least this one didn’t go down as a shutout. Richard Bleier came on to pitch the eighth inning and managed to allow three singles but strand the bases loaded. The third out was recorded on what looked to these weary eyes to be a grand slam off the bat, but the baseball gods allowed Joey Rickard to get to it easily in CF.

6-1 was the final score, and the Orioles have to head to New York with the wind taken out of their sails. The O’s will be facing a Yankees team that they’re looking up at (with the Red Sox in the middle) by 3.5 games in the AL East. For those who watched this entire disaster tonight, I salute you.