Hours before the Orioles wrapped up their two-game series against the Padres, GM Mike Elias offered some of his thoughts about the state of the MLB team right now. “The pitching’s barely making it through games,” he told O’s reporters, but as far as doing anything about it in the short-term, the O’s are “in a difficult spot in terms of roster depth and talent.”
Not coincidentally, the very next Orioles game that followed those remarks saw a starting pitcher, Dylan Bundy, who could not get any batters out in the fifth inning due to an elevated pitch count and ineffectiveness. Asking this bullpen to get through the remaining five innings is never a good thing, and sure enough, on Wednesday, it wasn’t, with the end result being that the O’s once again got their butts kicked with a 10-5 loss. It is the 16th time in 80 games that the O’s have allowed 10 or more runs.
You probably already know the Orioles bullpen is not good. They’ve managed to have their ERA ascend even higher than the disastrous Nationals bullpen. The O’s pen entered play Wednesday with the worst reliever ERA at 6.30. It’s unbelievable and it’s horrible and it’s still sadly the truth that they managed to push that ERA higher in this game. The Padres scored in six of the game’s nine innings. Only Mychal Givens kept the Padres off the board with his ninth inning appearance.
There is not much exciting or good at the big league level right now. This has been more than apparent for a while now, as the Orioles assorted futile streaks continue with this loss. They have not won a series since April 22-24, now more than two full months. They have not won consecutive games since May 4 and May 6. The O’s are 4-19 in June and 1-13 going back to June 12.
No wonder that the Orioles have spent the last couple of games trying to focus more on the future. Following the introduction of #1 overall pick Adley Rutschman on Tuesday, the O’s also introduced just-signed second round pick Gunnar Henderson on Wednesday afternoon.
Rolling out the orange carpet for the Henderson family included learning a delightful tidbit: Henderson’s younger brother has been an Orioles fan because he liked Manny Machado, and he remained a fan even after Machado left and before Henderson was drafted. Henderson dropped into the MASN booth during the game, and asked about taking grounders and batting practice, said the coolest part of the day was his brother meeting Trey Mancini and Machado.
None of that had anything to do with the game, but since the game was no fun I figured it was worth a mention. Indeed, while Henderson was being interviewed, Bundy was in the process of giving up three runs in the second inning. As is typical for O’s pitchers, he quickly snuffed out the 1-0 lead the team had taken in the first when Hanser Alberto led off with a triple and scored on a Renato Nunez double.
The Orioles held that lead for two batters. Bundy hit the first batter he saw in the top of the second, Francisco Mejia, and then gave up a home run to Greg Garcia to put the Orioles behind, 2-1. They never led afterwards.
When the Orioles break the record for home runs allowed by a team in a season, it’s the homers to guys like Garcia that will be why they smash it. Garcia came into the game with two home runs in 168 plate appearances.
It’s also going to be because of giving up home runs to guys like Franmil Reyes, who crushed a pair of titanic dingers in the game. He blasted off against Bundy in the third inning with a homer that I witnessed and almost still can’t believe: A Statcast-measured 453 foot home run into the left field seats that made it into the third row of seats below the overhang without bouncing.
I don’t know if I have ever seen a homer land there and I didn’t really believe it possible. Turns out that the right meatball against the right batter can go just about anywhere. Reyes hit a second, more ordinary home run later in the game as a greeting to Shawn Armstrong, the first reliever who followed Bundy. Reyes now has 22 on the season, an impressive total that still leaves Reyes seven home runs behind MLB leader Christian Yelich, who’s hit 29 to date.
With another five home runs allowed in this game, the Orioles have given up 165 homers in 80 games. They’re about 64% of the way to setting the record and they’re a game short of halfway through their schedule.
Not content to merely give up the home runs, there was also the requisite “2019 Orioles stupid” play in the game. In the sixth inning, Armstrong hit Manuel Margot with a pitch to put him on base. Margot then stole second, and neither second baseman Jonathan Villar nor shortstop Richie Martin covered the bag. As a result, catcher Pedro Severino’s throw sailed into the outfield and Margot advanced to third base.
It didn’t matter what base Margot was on since he ended up scoring on Eric Hosmer’s home run. Still, it’s outrageous. How do you have a runner steal a base and nobody bothers to cover second? It’s not even the first time we’ve seen this happen to this team this year. These guys are committed to the cause of getting the #1 pick again next year. Schlock for Hancock!
Enjoy the relief of an off day from these guys tomorrow. They could probably use the off day from baseball as well. The O’s will be back in action at home on Friday night against the Indians. John Means is expected to return from the injured list to pitch in the 7:05 opener, with Mike Clevinger scheduled for Cleveland.