The Orioles slim, nearly nonexistent playoff hopes were placed in Wade Miley's hands on Thursday night in the Bronx. In a fitting tribute to the performance of the entire starting rotation this season, Miley responded by getting absolutely torched by the Yankees offense. The Orioles ultimately lost, 13-5.
There is nothing particularly surprising about one of the American League's most potent offenses, the Yankees, destroying one of the league's worst starting pitchers, Miley. The Yankees came into the game having scored 759 runs, second-best in the AL. Miley, as he has been for most of the season, was league-worst in WHIP at 1.661. This was never going to end well.
Yet even expecting Miley to have a poor night, he was still stunningly poor. The true depths of his performance on Thursday night cannot be conveyed without vulgarities or expletives. Anything less is insufficient. Though I have to act serious enough to pretend that I don't want to do this with every fiber of my being, you do not, and I invite you to offer your own description in the comments.
While keeping it classy, let's just leave it at this: Miley faced seven batters and gave up six runs. The Yankees were prepared to jump all over him, and jump they did. He didn't even have time to walk anybody. He only threw 19 pitches. They got to him, hit after hit after hit. The Yankees are good, Miley is not, and that was that.
Even the lone out Miley recorded allowed a run to score, and eventually, the ageless Todd Frazier blasted a three-run home run towards the Yankees monument plaza/dungeon to put the Orioles in a 6-0 hole. This was finally enough for Buck Showalter, who yanked Miley and brought in Mike Wright.
The game was effectively already over right then, though the rules of MLB obligated all parties to go through the motions of another eight innings of play. Nothing happened to change that impression for the rest of the game.
Indeed, the soft underbelly of the Orioles bullpen only ensured that the game became even more of a blowout. Strong human being Aaron Judge padded his home run total with a pair of three run bombs off Wright and Richard Rodriguez. Can anyone be surprised? Judge now has 43 dingers. Gary Sanchez added a solo shot off Rodriguez, his 31st of the season.
After the initial flurry of runs, the closest that the Orioles ever got was 6-1. Jonathan Schoop got the O's on the scoreboard in the fourth inning with a solo home run. This was the 32nd homer of the year for Schoop, tying him again for the team lead.
Right after that, there was a brief moment of hope, as the O's managed to get two men on base against Masahiro Tanaka with no one out. Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo both struck out to defuse a promising situation, and after the third out was recorded, no runs had crossed. Judge's first homer put the game far out of reach in the bottom of that same inning.
Before tonight, the Orioles hadn't scored more than three runs in their last seven games. They snapped that streak with some garbage time offense.
In all, the Orioles ended up scoring five runs on 12 hits. Most nights for most teams, that will be good enough to win the game. Many nights, even with the Orioles starting rotation being what it is, that will be good enough to win or at least be competitive in a game. Tonight, it was barely a drop in the bucket.
Later in the game, once blowout substitutions were made, catcher Chance Sisco got a couple of opportunities to bat. He made the most of them, first doubling for his first-ever MLB hit and in the ninth inning, pulling a homer over the right field fence for his first-ever big league homer. May he have many more of both still to come in his career.
Trey Mancini was the lone Oriole in the original starting lineup to collect multiple hits in the game. He also homered, with his 24th of the season coming as a solo shot in the sixth inning. Jimmy Yacabonis was the first O's reliever to put up zeroes, tossing two scoreless innings.
At this writing, the Twins are beating the Blue Jays. If that score holds, the Orioles will be 5.5 games out of the second wild card spot with 15 games left to play. Their "tragic number" - the combination of O's losses and Twins wins that would eliminate them - would be just 11. Even if something weird happens and the Twins lose, that number is still 12. The O's are close to toast.
If some kind of miracle revival of their chances is going to happen, it's going to have to get started on Friday night as the series against the Yankees continues at 7:05. Gabriel Ynoa is scheduled to start the game for the O's, with the year's best Yankees starter, Luis Severino, pitching for New York.