Have you ever had that moment of intense introspection where you just think, “What does it all mean? Why are we here? What even is life, anyway?”
I have. In fact, I had that feeling today. It happened in the bottom of the eighth inning of this afternoon’s Orioles game, when one Red Sox runner after another crossed the plate against a utility infielder who was forced into pitching duty, while overmatched, overwhelmed O’s players flubbed grounders and kicked the ball around, knowing they were well on their way to their 112th loss of the season and helpless to stop it.
What even is life, anyway?
The 2018 Orioles, if nothing else, are good at making us wax philosophic. They’re a team so aggressively awful, so relentlessly outmanned, that O’s fans can rightly wonder why they bother dedicating any time to tracking the club’s daily miseries.
The worst part is that there was no reason for today’s game to even exist, as I talked about in the game thread. Shouldn’t Tuesday night’s rainout have been a sign from the baseball gods that nobody wants to watch the Orioles get humiliated by the Red Sox any more than necessary? Yet we’re playing doubleheaders to make sure that not a single meaningless game goes unplayed, no matter how unpleasant for all parties? Thanks for nothing.
To make matters worse, the Red Sox decided to use their A-team lineup in the opener rather than give their regulars a breather. That only accentuated the laughable talent gap between these two clubs. It’s like watching a bodybuilder arm-wrestle a puppet. Like watching Pele play soccer against a three-toed sloth. Like watching LeBron James go one-on-one against a potted plant.
The pitching matchup alone was a mismatch. On one side, you had former Cy Young winner and five-time All-Star David Price (with Chris Sale waiting in the wings for the nightcap). On the other, you had Ryan Meisinger, a rookie who had never started a game in the majors or minors, thrust into a starting assignment simply because the Orioles have run out of pitchers.
So when the Orioles fall behind 5-0 in the first inning, as they did today, is anyone supposed to be surprised? When three different O’s pitchers give up five runs apiece, is it even newsworthy? When they’re reduced to putting utility man Jace Peterson on the mound, and he’s not even the worst pitcher of the bunch, does anything even matter anymore?
There are no depths to which the 2018 Orioles cannot sink. Every game they play at this point is no longer a competition; it’s simply a roadblock that they must ineptly crash through before they can trudge home for the offseason.
You don’t need the blow-by-blow details. Suffice it to say the Orioles played like one of the worst teams in the history of baseball, which they are. Meisinger retired only one batter while giving up four hits and a walk, all of which came around to score with some help from Donnie Hart.
Lefty John Means made his major league debut and pitched a perfect inning, but, unfortunately, had to pitch more innings after that. He gave up five runs in his next 2.1 frames, including a mammoth J.D. Martinez homer, his 42nd of the year (and 10th against the Orioles).
JD Martinez has more homers than any two Orioles currently on the 40-man roster combined.— Dan Connolly (@danconnolly2016) September 26, 2018
Cody Carroll was next out of the bullpen and gave up five more, including three home runs. He’s coughed up six gopher balls in 16 major league innings this year. Finally, the eighth inning was Peterson’s turn, as Buck Showalter still had to save some actual pitchers (and I use the term loosely) for game two of the doubleheader.
Peterson might have actually gotten out of the inning with only one run of damage (a Rafael Devers homer) had he not forgotten to cover first base on a grounder, which set up another three Red Sox runs. That made it a 19-3 game. I don’t know what sport the Orioles think they’re playing, but it’s not baseball.
Don’t let the O’s offense off the hook, either. They scored only three runs, all in the second inning when Price got out of sorts for a spell, as Trey Mancini and Renato Nunez homered. It didn’t matter. Nothing matters.
Hey, I think I’ve stumbled onto a perfect slogan for this team. The 2018 Orioles: Nothing Matters.