Tonight’s “This is Birdland” moment: Pedro Severino’s facial expression after taking two consecutive foul balls to the head and watching Dan Straily gave up the first of two three-run home runs he’d allow in a ten-run sixth inning.
Sometimes this season the Orioles have been unlucky, and sometimes they have been just plain bad. Last night with Cashner on the mound, the O’s played a tight game and caught some bad breaks. Tonight the defense was full of holes, their starter totally outclassed, and the bullpen just plain horrific.
Gabriel Ynoa had a start truly worthy of a guy who belongs in the bullpen. In the middle of the ballgame, Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer (sometimes the only reason I feel like I watch these games), had the following exchange:
Gary: “Can Ynoa be a starting pitcher long term for the Orioles?”
Jim: “Well, tonight he’s basically a two-pitch pitcher … [but] he can throw strikes and he’s learned from Hyde to throw better pitches with two strikes.”
Jim [next inning, after Ynoa had given up a double, a home run, and a single]: “Well, Ynoa’s basically answering the question you asked me. The velocity’s going way down and the front shoulder isn’t getting closed; they can see everything.”
This was, of course, quite right. Gabriel Ynoa actually looked good for three innings, but for whatever reason, he seemed to be working with just the fastball and the slider (the changeup made a rare appearance or two), and the delivery got uneven as the game went on. The A’s figured him out quickly enough, and when they did, things got ugly fast.
In the third, Beau Taylor crushed a fastball to dead center to put the A’s up 1-0. That happened to be Career Home Run No. 1 for Taylor, freshly promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas. I can picture it on a t-shirt: “The Orioles: We Can Make Anybody Look like a Home Run Hitter.” Keon Broxton’s Spiderman wall climb looked cool, but he was so far away from the ball it felt like pointless showing off.
It got worse in the fourth. A Matt Chapman double bounced just over Santander’s glove and off the wall. (Feels like a while since we’ve had good defense in the outfield.) Khris Davis got plunked on the elbow. Then Ramon Laureano clobbered another ball way over the head of a scrambling Broxton. And like that, it was 4-0 Athletics.
I was told this was a pitchers’ park? In the fifth, the Orioles mounted all the offense they would mount when Villar crushed an Anderson sinker 400-plus feet to bring the O’s within three. Broxton swatted an inside-out single, then, playing some nice small ball (back when this felt like a real ballgame), got into Anderson’s head a bit, getting the lefty to spike a couple pitches that allowed the runner to advance to second. Then, on a Rio Ruiz grounder, shortstop Marcus Semien tried to get the out at third, but the throw sailed past Chapman, allowing Broxton to score. 4-2 Athletics…
… is as good as this game would get. If you didn’t catch the bottom of the sixth, I can assure you that it was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen as an Orioles fan.
The Sixth Inning: A Tragedy in Three Acts began when Ynoa gave up a single, then lobbed a high fastball that Robbie Grossman crushed for a two-run homer. 6-2 Athletics. After one more batter, Ynoa’s night was done: 5.1 IP, 7 hits, 1 BB, and 2 strikeouts. Seven hits over five plus doesn’t sound that bad, frankly, but when three of those are home runs, you can see how this wasn’t just bad luck.
With one out, Brandon Hyde turned to Paul Fry to put out the fire. (Narrator: he didn’t.) Fry’s appearance went as follows: single, groundout (no double play), RBI triple, a rare run-scoring error by Richie Martin, single. 8-2 Athletics.
And still there was more. In came Dan Straily, I guess out of Hyde’s concern for the fans on the East Coast staying up way past their bedtimes. That performance: three-run home run, single, walk, second three-run home run. (Statsheads: this has to be a rare accomplishment, right?) Said Gary: “And the agony continues.” 14-2.
At this point, this stinker of a ballgame was Straily’s to have and to hold. Even when he gave up a leadoff walk and a Chad Pinder home run to open the seventh—Gary: “Are you kidding me?! Is he going to get one too?”—Hyde did not pull him. He got through the rest with no more disasters. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was that.
Uh, how about we talk about something else?
Other Things That Happened:
- Hanser Alberto, DHing for the first time ever, was so antsy at not being in the field that he ran sprints between innings between the bullpen and the dugout. (Aw, cute.) Alberto also has hit more singles in the month of June than any other MLB hitter. Twenty of his twenty-one hits this month have been singles.
- Gary and Jim, making fun of the Coliseum’s size? or age?: “In light of the sound system at Rickey Henderson Field, we will yell to let you know what the score is.”
- It was Caleb Joseph’s birthday on Tuesday! To celebrate, Jim reminisced, “He was always a very conscientious catcher. I told him, ‘It wouldn’t kill you to get a hit now and then.’”
- Seriously, though, how long is Dan Straily left for this team?
- A thought experiment: how much worse would the score have been if instead of Straily Hyde had put in Chris Davis in the sixth?