It’s simple. The Orioles, as currently constructed, are not a winning baseball team. Everyone knows that. They win some games, come close in others, and lose often. It can be difficult to watch, and even tougher to find enjoyment during seasons like this.
Some games look worse on paper than others. Matt Harvey against a stacked Toronto lineup is a difficult matchup. Baltimore verse Hyun Jin Ryu is another. Sometimes the Orioles manage to surprise everyone.
Tonight was not one of those nights.
Harvey allowed three runs in the first, three more in the fourth, and failed to complete four frames. Baltimore’s offense never put up a fight, and the Orioles fell 10-2 in the second of a three-game series at Camden Yards.
Harvey squashed any early hopes by issuing a leadoff walk to Marcus Semien. Bo Bichette followed with a single to center, and then things got weird. Vlad Guerrero Jr. laced a ball to left field and Ryan McKenna dashed toward it. McKenna slid and just missed the ball, but somehow multiple umpires thought he made the catch. McKenna quickly fired the ball to third and the Orioles doubled off a very confused Semien.
In a different era, this is just the break Baltimore needed. In the day of instant replay, it’s an RBI single. The umpires ruled that Semien would have scored if the call had not been blown and Semien was credited with a run despite never touching the plate.
It may be an unpopular opinion here, but it was likely the right call. Semien broke like he expected the ball to fall and likely would have scored without a throw under normal circumstances. Semien would have been doubled off by a mile if McKenna caught the ball, but that’s not what happened.
George Springer popped up for the first out, but Teoscar Hernández followed with a single to loaded the bases. Harvey generated a desperately needed grounder, but Domingo Leyba fired the ball a touch wide of second base. Pat Valaika was able to secure the ball, but the inaccurate throw impacted Valaika’s ability to turn two. Girchuck beat the throw to first, and Toronto led by two.
Cavan Biggio plated the third run with a ground-rule double, and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. lined out for a loud out number three.
Neither team scored again until the fourth inning. Baltimore wasted a one-out double by Austin Hays in the bottom of the first, and Pat Valaika made a diving catch to start a double play in the top of the third.
Biggio doubled with one out in the fourth, and Gurriel drove him home with a base hit up the middle. Semien and Bichette added a pair of two-out singles, the latter scoring Gurriel. Brandon Hyde replaced Harvey with Adam Plutko, but Plutko conceded an RBI-single to Guerrero before ending the threat.
By this point, the game felt completely out of reach. Biggio extended the lead to seven with a sacrifice fly in the top of the fifth.
Leyba, Austin Wynns and Cedric Mullins loaded the bases with three straight singles to start the fifth. Hays gave a ball a ride to center field, but it only resulted in a sacrifice fly. Trey Mancini drove a fly ball to right field, but Hernández gunned down Wynns with a laser to the plate. The ball was hit deep, but Hernández showed off his arm while Wynns provided a textbook example of catcher legs.
Baltimore scored its only other run in the bottom of the eighth. Hays ledoff with an infield single, and Mancini moved him to third with a double. Ryan Mountcastle drove in Hays with a single to center, but Baltimore struck out three straight times to end the inning.
Toronto extended their lead to eight with a pair of runs in the sixth. Danny Jansen reached on a leadoff single and Bichette delivered a two run home run. Hernández drove in Santiago Espinal for the tenth run of the game.
Bichette finished 3-5 with 3 RBIs, and Guerrero went 3-4 with 2 RBIs. Hernández logged a 3-5 and Biggio drove in two with two base hits.
César Valdez worked the sixth inning and allowed the homer to Bichette. Zac Lowther replaced Valdez and allowed a run over two innings. He did look sharp at times while striking out two.
Recent waiver claim Kelvin Gutierrez entered late in the game to play third base. Gutierrez, who replaced Maikel Franco on the active roster, worked a two-out walk in the bottom of the ninth. Hays bounced out to end the game.
The Orioles have not played quality defense behind Matt Harvey this season, and it would be interesting to see how things played out had Leyba thrown an accurate ball in the first inning. Still, with a lopsided loss like this, it is difficult to picture the game ending in any other fashion.