To elaborate: It’s June 1, and the Orioles have lost 40 games. Just want to make sure we’re all seeing this. You’re seeing this, right?
In my Tuesday recap, I ran through a checklist of all the worst aspects of the 2018 Orioles, and most of them showed up again tonight.
Horrific offense: CHECK. Facing Yankees starter Sonny Gray, who entered the game with a 5.98 ERA and four starts (out of 10) in which he’d allowed five or more runs, the O’s made him look like the ace hurler that he hasn’t been in years. Gray held the Orioles to one run (courtesy of a Manny Machado first-inning solo homer) in six innings, striking out six. The Orioles’ only real threat came in the eighth when Dellin Betances walked/HBP’d the bases loaded, but Jonathan Schoop struck out on three pitches and Chris Davis flied out.
Ineffective pitching: CHECK. The Orioles gave up four runs, which isn’t terrible in a vacuum, but the four-run mark is the point of no return for this team. Entering tonight, the Birds were 4-29 when giving up at least four. Starter Andrew Cashner was neither bad nor good, giving up nine hits and three runs in six innings. Aaron Judge’s mammoth homer off Tanner Scott in the seventh tallied the nail-in-the-coffin fourth run.
Total lack of depth: CHECK. The Orioles’ leadoff hitter tonight was Jace Peterson — he of the .171 average and .300 OBP as an Oriole — because the club simply hasn’t found a hitter worthy of that spot. Peterson is their sixth attempt. Of course, it’s not just leadoff. The Orioles also haven’t found a hitter worthy of the No. 2 spot, or No. 4 spot, or No. 5 spot, or...well, you get the idea. Outside of Machado, the whole lineup pretty much stinks. With the Orioles’ lack of offensive depth, though, there’s not much they can do but rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.
But beyond all that, there’s another painful aspect of the 2018 Orioles that I didn’t mention last time, one that has cost them plenty of games — including this one.
The defense. Oh, good heavens, the defense. (shaking head)
It’s no secret that the Orioles are terrible at fielding. FanGraphs has pegged them at a brutal -47 defensive runs saved this season, worst in the majors by a fair margin. There isn’t a single Orioles regular who has amassed a positive DRS this year. Among Orioles with at least 200 innings played, the best DRS — the best! — is Jonathan Schoop’s zero. The two worst marks belong to Adam Jones and Trey Mancini, both at -11.
The Orioles’ unwatchable defense, particularly in the outfield, was on full display Friday. In the span of two innings, each of the three O’s outfielders misplayed a ball, two of which cost the Orioles runs.
In a 1-1 game in the top of the fifth, rookie Gleyber Torres — whom Gary Thorne had confused with Ronald Torreyes the entire night — led off with an extra-base hit into the left-field corner. Mancini muffed the ball as it rolled against the wall, which sparked Torres to try for third. Mancini, to his credit, recovered well enough to throw out the runner at third (although if the Yankees had challenged the call, or if Torres hadn’t lost a shoe during his sprint, he likely would’ve been safe). The Orioles were fortunate that Mancini’s misplay didn’t hurt them.
They weren’t as lucky with the next two. Later in the fifth, with a runner at first and two outs, Greg Bird smoked a shot to deep center. Jones appeared to mistime his jump and let the ball glance off his glove as he fell backward into the wall. It wasn’t a routine play, but it was a fly ball that would be caught by most outfielders — including Jones himself three or four years ago. It went for an RBI triple, giving the Yankees the lead.
The next inning, after the Yankees put a runner at third with two down, Austin Romine roped a shot to right field. Joey Rickard took a terrible route, charging in and letting the ball fly over his head. Romine ended up with a run-scoring double to extend the lead to 3-1.
If there’s such a thing as “butchering for the cycle,” the O’s outfield accomplished it tonight.
So to sum up, the Orioles are horrendous at hitting, pitching, fielding, and lots of other stuff I didn’t get around to mentioning here. They’re probably bad at things you wouldn’t even think about, like, I don’t know, basket weaving. Or croquet.
The Orioles are the first team to reach the 40-loss mark this season. They got there before they even won 20 games. Before they even got particularly close to winning 20 games. Their winning percentage has dropped below the .300 mark, and depending on the result of the Chicago White Sox game tonight, the Orioles may hold the worst record in baseball by the end of the night.
Only four months to go!