If the Baltimore Orioles want to make it to the playoffs, they need to stop losing games. They need to win basically every game they play. This is my way of telling you that the Orioles are not going to make the playoffs and the reasons why were showcased nicely in tonight’s 4-3 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.
First, let’s talk about the outfield defense, which let the Orioles down yet again. After a long but scoreless first inning, starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez started the second inning by getting Teoscar Hernandez to hit a routine fly ball to right field. “Right fielder” Mark Trumbo came in on the ball as though it were shallow, then held his hands up to indicate that he couldn’t see it as it bounced well behind him in the outfield.
He chased down the ball in foul territory and as he picked it up, bobbled it and dropped it over the wall and into the stands. This is a real thing that happened. Hernandez ended up a third base and came in to score the Blue Jays’ first run on a ground out.
Later in the same inning, Darwin Barney hit a solid double to the right-center field gap. He started to pull up at second base but then Adam Jones bobbled the ball as he fielded it, so Barney took off for third. He might have been thrown out as he made the worst headfirst slide ever into third, having to crawl the last few feet. But for some reason Jonathan Schoop had thrown home instead of to third base. Barney then came in to score on a double from Richard Urena.
Jimenez was giving up his share of hard hit balls, but he was definitely the recipient of some bad luck thanks to the errors by Trumbo and Jones. Trumbo is always terrible in the field and Jones has made a string of errors the past few games. It’s very frustrating.
But why is Trumbo even out there? He should only ever be the DH (if that, he’s not a very good hitter either this season), but today Seth Smith was in that spot. Nothing was said before the game about why Smith was DH’ing, but perhaps he is banged up this late in the season. So why not start hot shot prospect Austin Hays? He was called up for some reason, maybe put him in the lineup?
Jimenez gave up one more run in his five run outing, a solo home run to power threat Ryan Goins, who coming into this game had six home runs on the season (a career high!). Altogether Ubaldo had a pitching line of 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K.
One one hand, it’s hard to get mad at a start where Jimenez keeps his team in the game, especially when he had some some bumbling going on in the field behind him. But “good for Ubaldo” isn’t good enough for a playoff team, even if we were all happy that we didn’t have to witness the kind of meltdown that we know he is capable of.
The Orioles got back two runs from the guys who botched things in the outfield. In the fourth inning, Jones singled in Manny Machado, who had hit a lead off double. Then in the fifth inning Trumbo helped in the only way he is capable of: solo dinger.
The Blue Jays added on another run in the sixth inning thanks to some bad luck and some more shoddy defense. Miguel Castro came into the game in relief of Jimenez and immediately hit the first batter he faced. A ground ball to third that was hit too slowly for Machado to throw out Hernandez put runners on first and second with no outs.
After the runners moved up on a ground out, Barney hit a ground ball to first base that Chris Davis had to charge. Castro ran towards first to cover but there was confusion as he didn’t get there quite fast enough and didn’t turn around to get the ball. Finally Davis threw to Schoop, who was kind of hanging around first base, but it was too late. Barney was safe and the runner on third scored to make the score 4-2.
The Orioles made the score 4-3 in the seventh inning when Caleb Joseph singled up the middle to knock in Trey Mancini, who had walked. Joseph didn’t start tonight’s game, but came into the game in the second inning after Welington Castillo fouled a ball off of his groin. Orioles catchers have a lot of problems with their junk.
Neither team scored again, which resulted in the fifth loss in a row for the Orioles. There are not many games when three runs is enough to win, especially with a pitching staff like the Orioles. Tonight was just a poorly played game all around, one that a team below .500 is expected to put up late in the season. It just so happens that the Orioles fit that description.