Earlier today, I watched highlights from the 2014 Orioles season. The Delmon Young double, the eight run eighth, and Caleb Joseph’s five straight homers all made the cut. The AL East champs had a bit of a swagger about them. They played good defense, had a shutdown bullpen, and a powerful offense that was never out of a game.
The image of players drinking champagne and beer with the fans after clinching the division crown at home legitimately brightened up my day. But after watching this year’s club play tonight, I feel like I need a drink. At least it’s Friday night.
The Orioles dropped their sixth consecutive game, 7-1 to the Angels, Friday night. The bats remained silent, and the Orioles looked far from a team that prided itself on defense.
The Angels took the lead before Baltimore even had a chance to bat, and they did so in a very predictable fashion. As it turns out, David Hess vs. Mike Trout is a bit of a mismatch. Trout blasted a middle-middle fastball to left-center field to get the Angels on the board, and they never looked back.
While the Birds bats stayed quiet, the Angels added a pair of runs in the third. Mike Trout reached after being hit by a pitch, and Justin Upton followed with an infield single. Andrelton Simmons singled to center to plate Trout, and Upton came around to score on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-0.
Hess appeared to be on the ropes, but settled in for a brief period. He needed only six pitches to navigate through the fourth inning. After a lead off single, Hess retired David Fletcher and got Kole Calhoun to ground into an inning-ending double play. Hess followed up the fourth with a 1-2-3 fifth inning, and appeared poised to pick up a backdoor quality start. The Angles had other plans.
Simmons led off with a double, and Luis Valbuena followed with a knock. With the infield in, Martin Maldonado grounded to Manny Machado, who fired to home to get Simmons. Except Machado’s throw bounced, and Chance Sisco could not get his glove down in time after corralling the ball. After a replay review, the Orioles trailed 4-0.
Fletcher scored Valbuena with a double to left field, and Maldonado came around to score on a sacrifice fly. Hess left after 5.2 innings. The rookie allowed 9 hits, 6 runs and walked two. He’s now lost four straight decisions, and the Orioles have lost the last six games that he started.
The highlights of the game came from the Orioles bullpen, with two players making their MLB debut in Baltimore. Ryan Meisinger and Paul Fry were both recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game, and both made appearances. Meisinger replaced Hess with two down in the sixth, and also pitched the seventh inning. Maldonado welcomed Meisinger to the league with a solo home run in the seventh, but that would be the only run Meisinger allowed.
Paul Fry had the more impressive debut of the two. Fry replaced Meisinger with one out in the eighth, and struck out the first two batters that he faced. Who was the second batter? Two-time MVP Mike Trout. Fry came back out for the ninth and did not allow a run.
The Orioles finally broke through with a run in the ninth inning. Trey Mancini led off the inning with a double to right field, and Adam Jones drove him in with a base hit. Machado flew out to the warning track, and Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis both struck out to end the game.
The Orioles failed to solve Angels pitcher Felix Pena or the majority of the bullpen. The spot starter picked up his first win of the year with 5.1 innings of shutout ball. Pena struck out five and walked only one batter. The Orioles did not have a player reach third base until Mancini did so in the ninth.
The Orioles are now half way through the 162-game season. They have the worst record in baseball, and are on pace for 116 losses. Losers of six straight, Baltimore will attempt to rebound tomorrow with Andrew Cashner on the mound. Who knows, maybe Fry will strike out Trout again.