The Orioles lost again tonight, their 18th consecutive loss on the road. This is getting silly, guys. The bats did make some noise, but thanks to one abysmal five-run inning from Cleveland, it just wasn’t enough to matter.
There isn’t much good to say about a starting pitcher who gives up eight runs in 5.2 innings, but I am going to try because the box score doesn’t tell Akin’s whole story. His third inning was abysmal and he couldn’t close things out in the sixth. But the rest he actually looked pretty good. No, that doesn’t matter for this game. But it makes me feel a little better about him getting another start.
After that terrible third inning, which was aided by more poor defense, Akin looked like a different pitcher. Starting with the three outs he got to end the third inning, Akin retired 11 straight batters and it didn’t look particularly difficult. Unfortunately at the end of those 11 in a row he walked a batter and gave up a single and couldn’t quite make it to six full innings pitched. He was pulled from the game but both of his runners scored, marking a sour end to his game.
Now, back to that third inning. We have to talk about it. I’m sorry. Akin allowed the first two hitters, Bradley Zimmer and Cesar Hernandez, to reach via a single and a walk, and that’s when the shenanigans began. Amed Rosario singled to left field. Zimmer scored easily and DJ Stewart uncorked a terrible throw from left that allowed both baserunners to move up to second and third.
Then came a truly horrible play in the field by the Orioles. José Ramírez singled to right field. As both runners came in to score, Austin Hays appropriately fired in to the cutoff man, Trey Mancini. Ramírez went too far around first base and got caught in a rundown. Trey fired to Freddy Galvis to start a rundown, but Galvis and Pat Valaika botched it and Ramírez got to second base. That wasn’t great, but it’s what came next that was truly embarrassing.
Third baseman Maikel Franco had come over to cover second in the rundown, leaving third base unattended. Where was Pedro Severino? He was just standing around, watching the play unfold. When Ramírez realized that Galvis was just holding the ball in the center of the infield and no one was covering third, he took off and advanced easily.
The defense, guys. It’s so bad. It’s so hard to watch. Not that Akin helped the cause. He gave up back-to-back RBI doubles and just like that, the Orioles had gone from a 3-1 lead to a 6-3 deficit. He then finally got three straight outs.
As bad as the defense and pitching were at times in this game, the offense almost made up for it. Almost. I mean, they still lost.
The Orioles jumped out to a lead in the first inning thanks to the first four batters of the game reaching safely. After a Cedric Mullins double and a Mancini single put runners on second and third, Galvis and Ryan Mountcastle each knocked an RBI single to put the Orioles up 2-0. Cleveland got one run back in the bottom half of the inning on a homer from José Ramírez. At the time it wasn’t really too disappointing, that dude is a heck of a player.
The Orioles added a run in the third inning. The odd innings were their innings tonight as they scored in every one other than the ninth. Just as in the first, it was thanks to the M boys. The killer Ms? Do we have a name for the fact that the best hitters on this team all have last names that start with M? Anyway, this time Mancini doubled and came in to score on another single from Mountcastle. Not wanting to garner too much praise, Mountcastle was later thrown on trying to steal second base.
Down by three runs in the fifth inning thanks to that brutal bottom of the third, the killer M boys struck again. Mullins struck out, but then Mancini singled again so that two batters later Mountcastle to smash his ninth home run of the year. Yes! You love to see it.
They were still down by two runs, but you could almost squint and imagine a way that the Orioles could come back and win. But then the Orioles did Oriole things again. Akin had been cruising for several innings and he retired the first two batters of the sixth inning. It was looking like he might get to six innings! But he didn’t. He walked the next batter then gave up a single, and Brandon Hyde couldn’t wait to go to the bullpen any longer.
He called on Hunter Harvey, who I am sad to say hasn’t so far been the pitcher we expected to see since he came off of the injured list. Harvey gave up a triple that allowed both of his inherited runners to score. That made the score 8-5. You’re not gonna win many games when you give up eight runs.
But the offense tried to fight back again! Again, it wasn’t enough. Galvis singled, then after a Mountcastle strike out (he can’t do everything, people), DJ Stewart hit what looked like a double play ball. But Cleveland channeled their inner Baltimore Orioles on the play, The second baseman overthrew the bag at second, allowing Galvis to be safe, then the throw back to first couldn’t get Stewart. Thanks guys!
Galvis alertly moved to third on the play and came in to score on a single from Austin Hays. It was nice to see from Hays, who had gone hitless to that point since returning from the IL. Franco then singled in Stewart and once again the Orioles were down by only one run.
Unfortunately, that’s where it would stay. Cleveland pitchers James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase continued to flummox the O’s lineup as they each pitched a perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Orioles lose, 8-7.
The final game of this four-game series is tomorrow at 1 p.m. with Jorge López pitching for the Orioles. Will they continue their losing streak? I sure hope not. This is exhausting.