The Orioles starting rotation has been a complete disaster for nearly the entirety of the 2017 season. In the month of September, the offense has joined this stump dump fire. It’s a good recipe for losing a lot of baseball games, and so the O’s have done this month. The awful baseball continued on Friday night against the Rays, with the O’s losing, 7-0.
O’s fans can rejoice in one thing about Friday night’s loss, however. It will, barring some poor future decision by Dan Duquette that I don’t want to contemplate, mark the final occasion of having to watch Wade Miley pitch for the O’s. It could turn out to be the final time Chris Tillman pitches in an Orioles uniform, as well.
Both of those gentlemen pitched in the game. Both pitched about the same as they have all season, which is to say they pitched horribly. It is not with glee that I relate this to you. It is disgust. I have seen these two fellows pitch a combined 56 times this season and I do not wish to see any more.
The thing about Miley is that the only reason he’s not the worst MLB pitcher by WHIP on the stat sheets is that he’s been so bad, he hasn’t even pitched enough innings to qualify. That’s one inning per team game. Miley, despite starting 32 games, failed to accumulate enough innings. He added four innings in today’s games, so that’s 157.1 for the year - fewer than five innings per start.
As he has done all season, Miley gave up tons and tons of baserunners in an abbreviated outing. It takes dedication to the craft of poor pitching to give up five hits and five walks in a four inning outing.
It also takes bad luck, if one wants to be fair to Miley. Of his five hits, one was some weird Tropicana Field catwalk nonsense and another was a Royalesque blooper. But when a guy faces 22 batters and walks five of them, while failing to record any outs in the fifth inning, why would anyone want to be fair about that?
Miley likely only faced a batter in the fifth inning at all because Oriole-killer and specifically Tillman-killer Evan Longoria was leading off the inning for the Rays. Longoria has nine career home runs against Tillman, and a 1.162 OPS in 74 PA. So the O’s had Miley face Longoria. Probably a good idea. Miley gave up a home run to Longoria anyway. This was the 20th of the year for the Rays franchise stalwart.
From here, Tillman picked up what Miley was putting down. It was like he set out to do what Miley had done in less time. Indeed, Tillman ended up facing half as many batters as Miley did - eleven - and he walked three of these. The lone hit he gave up was a solo home run hit by Logan Morrison, #38 on the season for him. On top of that, Tillman hit a guy with a pitch.
In contrast to Miley, O’s fans actually have some fond memories of Tillman, but none of them have come in 2017. I do not want to see this version of this pitcher again.
Tillman got yanked from the game after following the Morrison home run with the hit by pitch and walk in his third inning of work. Reliever Jimmy Yacabonis unloaded a wild pitch first thing out of the bullpen to advance the runners. Both ended up scoring on sacrifice flies and were charged to Tillman, who, assuming his season is done, ends it with a 7.84 ERA.
O’s pitchers actually only gave up seven hits in the game, which doesn’t sound bad, but they walked ten batters. Ten! “Only” two of the ten walks came around to score. A third walk forced in a run with the bases loaded. The hit by pitch led to a run scoring as well.
That’s no good. Neither is the fact that the Orioles themselves had just four hits in the game. Just about the only positive thing was Trey Mancini extending his hitting streak to 17 games, increasing his own Orioles rookie record. Chris Davis struck out three times, including a swinging strikeout that ended the game.
The Blue Jays also lost on Friday night, so the Orioles remain tied for last place in the division. The loss to the Rays means the Orioles cannot finish in third place. Coupled with a Marlins win on Friday, the O’s now own the 11th pick in next year’s draft.
This season will be mercifully over in just two more games. Saturday’s contest starts at 6:10. Miguel Castro starts for the Orioles, with Chris Archer pitching for the Rays.