There’s nothing quite like a guy who keeps getting demoted to the bullpen or to the minor leagues making an emergency start to make you feel good about the Orioles possibly ending a ten-game losing streak today. That’s exactly what we’re getting. Keegan Akin, dumped from the rotation after giving up six runs in three innings on Tuesday, is back today because Bruce Zimmermann sprained his ankle, delaying his return from the injured list.
No losing streak of this length is ever going to be pretty, but even so, this stretch of baseball by the Orioles stands out for its ugliness. They’ve gotten blown out by at least five runs in six of the ten games. Going along with that, they’ve scored three or fewer runs in six games, and they’ve given up at least eight runs in eight games. Nothing is going right and it feels like nothing will ever go right again.
Like the saying goes, this too shall pass. It’s just hard to say how long it will be before it passes, and just as hard to say how long it will stay gone once it has passed. In the meantime, the prospect of tuning in to watch is probably something to dread.
Just about the only silver lining, such as it is, is that the Orioles are now equal to the worst-in-MLB Diamondbacks with 38 wins. Arizona still has three more losses than the O’s. That #1 pick may yet be in range. Arizona even got a no-hitter last night, somehow, from a rookie who’d been a minor league Rule 5 draft pick and who was making his first ever MLB start. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that Tyler Wells does not have an MLB no-hitter in his future.
The week of pitching failure has led to another round of the Orioles roster wheel spinning. Adam Plutko has been designated for assignment after posting a 6.71 ERA in 38 games. Another 40-man roster spot opened up as the O’s placed Zimmermann on the 60-day injured list. That’s likely a paper move rather than a sign he’s hurt worse than we knew. He’d been gone for long enough that he was close to being eligible for the 60-day, so his start being pushed back a few days opens up that avenue. Also, Dusten Knight was sent back down to Norfolk. No backflips on the big league mound for now.
Replacing these guys on the roster are Fernando Abad and Konner Wade. If Abad appears in a game, he will become the 53rd different player to appear in a game for the Orioles this year.
Here are today’s Orioles and Red Sox lineups:
- Cedric Mullins - CF
- Austin Hays - RF
- Trey Mancini - 1B
- Anthony Santander - DH
- Ramón Urias - 2B
- Pedro Severino - C
- Ryan McKenna - LF
- Maikel Franco - 3B
- Jorge Mateo - SS
With a hit today, Mullins would extend his hitting streak to 21 games. In all likelihood, this is going to be the most interesting thing about the game, and if Mullins does what he’s done a whole lot this year, he could extend the streak in the game’s very first at-bat.
- Enrique Hernandez - 2B
- Hunter Renfroe - RF
- Xander Bogaerts - SS
- Rafael Devers - 3B
- J.D. Martinez - LF
- Kyle Schwarber - DH
- Bobby Dalbec - 1B
- Alex Verdugo - CF
- Christian Vazquez - C
Former Oriole Eduardo Rodriguez makes the start as Boston goes for the sweep. It has not been a great year for Rodriguez. He sits on a 5.24 ERA through 22 starts. With a 3.38 FIP, maybe he’s been unlucky. Today he has good fortune, at least, in that he gets to face the Orioles.