The impressively consistent thing about the 2018 Orioles is their ability to be exactly as incompetent as they need to be to lose a particular baseball game. They have now put this skill on display 90 separate times this season, with Wednesday afternoon’s latest loss, a 6-0 defeat at the hands of the Blue Jays, sealing a singularly pathetic 0-10 record in Toronto for the season.
Every one of those 90 losses has been its own uniquely terrible beast, though of course there are certain connecting trends across many of the games lost this year. Some things that were all true in this game, each of which will certainly seem familiar to those hardy souls among the Orioles faithful who have kept watching through it all:
- The Orioles got just two hits all game
- They did not break up the no-hitter until the seventh inning
- These two things occurred with a rookie pitcher, Thomas Pannone, making his first ever MLB start
- The above all happened without any participation from Chris Davis, who had the day off
- An Orioles reliever appeared late in a close game, faced five batters, retired none, unleashed three wild pitches, and gave up five runs
- 35-year-old Kendrys Morales set a new record for his 12 year career by homering in a fourth consecutive game
What was different from a lot of their other losses is that the Orioles own starting pitcher, David Hess, had very good results in the game. Hess matched Pannone’s seven innings, giving up just three hits and no walks while striking out seven. That’s a new season and MLB career high in strikeouts in a single game for Hess. He carried his own no-hitter into the fifth inning, broken up on the play pictured above.
The lone blemish against Hess was the home run he allowed to Morales, a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. That was the 18th of the season for Morales. With the way the Orioles lineup was swinging the bats today, the one run was all that the Jays would need, although of course, they got more.
The O’s summoned Miguel Castro to hold the line in the eighth inning. Castro had his moments last year, but he, like many Orioles, has fallen into a deep pit of suck in 2018.
This was the play-by-play, in order, from the moment Castro entered the game today: Single, wild pitch, walk, wild pitch, run-scoring double, wild pitch, walk, three-run home run. The nail in the coffin was hit by Jays second baseman Devon Travis, his tenth homer of the season. Castro had no idea where the ball was going. This has plagued him a lot out of the bullpen this season.
What a 2018 Orioles way to fail, though. Five batters faced, none retired, Castro left hanging for a couple of batters too long even though it was apparent very quickly that he had nothing today, three wild pitches - not a record, if you were curious - and ultimately yanked after handing the game to the other team.
Not that any of Castro’s five runs mattered. The O’s few scoring opportunities went to waste.
When the Orioles finally got their first hit in the form of a Trey Mancini seventh inning single, they had an inning with real potential. The next batter, Adam Jones, reached base thanks to Jays left fielder Teoscar Hernandez doing his impression of an Orioles outfielder and not catching an easily catchable ball. Two men on base, with Mancini making it to third on the error, representing a go-ahead run in what was then still a 0-0 contest.
All either of the next two batters had to go was get the ball out of the infield. They did no such thing. Tim Beckham grounded out to third base, keeping Mancini from breaking home. Craig Gentry followed with a come-backer to the pitcher, also keeping Mancini from scoring. The inning at last farted away with a Renato Nunez popout. And in the bottom of the inning, Morales hit his home run. Just so typical.
The eighth inning saw another scoring chance. New Oriole John Andreoli beat out an infield single to start the inning, putting the tying run on base with none out. Andreoli stole his way into scoring position as Austin Wynns struck out. Cedric Mullins drew a walk to put the go-ahead run back on base. Again, once there was promise, there was failure. Jonathan Villar struck out and Mancini hit a blooper that didn’t quite manage to get out of reach of the fielders.
After Castro’s eighth inning misadventures put the O’s in a deep hole, they were struck out in order in the top of the ninth to end the game and seal the winless season in Canada. The last time they went 0-for-Canada in a season was 2010. Even those useless louts “only” lost 96 games all season - whereas these Orioles are already at 90 losses with 35 games still to play.
The loss dropped Buck Showalter to .500 in his O’s tenure, at 659-659. One of the many sad things this season is the way they are so bad that they will leave Buck below .500 as the O’s skipper at season’s end.
Showalter had a nice cushion when this season began, but, well, as you know, this team REALLY stinks. It’s been nearly a month since the last time they won consecutive games. They’re 51 games back in the East and 21 games out of even fourth place. They are on pace to win just 47 games all season.
We all get some respite from the Orioles with an off day tomorrow. The O’s then return to Baltimore to kick off a three-game series against the Yankees on Friday night. The O’s have hilariously played .500 ball against the Yankees through 12 games of their season matchup. If they continue that surprisingly strong play for another series, that would also be hilarious. I won’t hold my breath.