Some day, presumably, the Orioles will win another baseball game. That day is not today. The O’s dropped their ninth straight game despite finally getting something resembling a little bit of offense, falling to the Marlins, 5-4.
The loss means that the Orioles have the dubious distinction of losing their 50th game before they have won their 20th game. Their 19-50 record has not made any history yet, even just considering the franchise. The 1988 Orioles had only 18 wins when they lost their 50th game.
The gap between the awful Orioles of the past and the awful Orioles of the present keeps shrinking. This team is currently on pace to win just 45 games, nine fewer than the 1988 incarnation of the team.
Until Saturday’s loss, the Orioles had not had a nine game losing streak since July 4-15, 2011. They last lost ten games straight in late May to early June, 2010, a streak in the middle of which manager Dave Trembley was fired. The 2018 Orioles failure has not yet, as of this writing, cost any coach or front office staff their job or any player his spot on the 40-man roster, with the exception of Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes being returned to the Yankees early on.
There are a lot of ways to lose a baseball game and the 2018 O’s are exploring a lot of them. Saturday’s loss may not have been the most frustrating of the ones they have lost this season. There have been some worse ones. Yet there’s no way for a ninth consecutive loss to be anything other than a painful experience.
The details almost stop mattering after a while. The only things that will end up mattering for the rest of the season are when they will trade their good players and how much they will get in return. The Orioles have until July 31 to settle all of that, which is still quite a ways away. Until then, there is only losing, losing, and more losing.
The team actually scored runs on Saturday. They got some hits, out-hitting the Marlins, 11-8. They even got a couple of clutch hits, if not as many as they needed. Multiple Orioles had multi-hit games. Adam Jones had three and Manny Machado and Danny Valencia each had a pair. Machado drove in two of the four Orioles runs. Only two O’s in the starting lineup went hitless. Chris Davis was once again out of the lineup.
Alas, in this game, four runs was not enough to win. That’s because Alex Cobb started the game for the Orioles. The version of the player they believed they were signing in late March has, on the whole, not made himself known so far this season.
On Saturday, Cobb pitched seven innings, which sounds good until you see that he gave up five runs on seven hits and two walks. That adds up to Cobb just barely passing the Matusz Test in the game. He started out with a 7.23 ERA and ended up with a 7.14 ERA. It is not much of a consolation prize.
When it’s June of the first year of a four year contract and your pitcher has an ERA over 7, there is no silver lining there. Maybe he will improve eventually. Maybe the late signing and the Orioles rushing him to MLB before he was ready is still affecting him even now. Maybe those things are true, but if there is improvement to come, it’s far too late to save the 2018 O’s season.
Cobb was not the only pitcher who came into the game with a poor ERA for the season. Old friend Wei-Yin Chen got the start for the Marlins. Chen has not been good, entering the contest with a 6.13 ERA. He had walked 22 batters in 39.2 innings. The Orioles should have found a way to really sock it to Chen and take advantage of that kind of wildness. The way the world is and the way it should be are seldom the same thing.
To be sure, the O’s scored some runs against Chen. They scratched out eight hits against Chen in the six innings Chen was in the game. That was enough to get them three runs, including a solo home run hit by Jonathan Schoop. Some days, that can be enough to win. As bad as the Orioles have been lately, they have still had several games where three runs would have won it for them.
Schoop’s home run, his seventh of the year, has this footnote attached: It represents the 18th consecutive solo home run hit by the team. They last had a multi-run home run when Pedro Alvarez plated two runs when he took Rick Porcello deep in Boston on May 19. The Orioles lost that game as well.
This is now a franchise record 18 straight solo home runs for the team. It is not the MLB record quite yet. According to the MASN telecast, that record belongs to the 2011 Giants, who at one time recorded 21 consecutive solo home runs. I would not count this team out from taking that one for themselves. Of course, it only takes one walk and then a home run in some kind of blowout loss to snap that streak.
Can the Orioles avoid hitting double digits with this losing streak? Sunday afternoon’s series finale will tell the tale. The action is scheduled to get under way at 1:05, with Dylan Bundy pitching for the O’s and Trevor Richards on the mound for the Marlins.