The Orioles are now on pace to go 81-81 in the 2023 season. They lost their most recent game yesterday to the Red Sox, a loss that’s almost unbelievably stupid and hard to describe to you if you weren’t one of the unfortunate people watching it. The Orioles had two outs in the ninth inning and a pop fly in play that had a 1% chance of being a base hit and Ryan McKenna just... dropped the ball.
It’s the outcome you always hope for every time there’s an easy popout by an Orioles batter and the other team always catches the ball. Except this time, McKenna didn’t catch the ball. It popped out of his glove and landed on the ground. He put the tying run on base and brought the winning run to the plate. Shaky through two games closer Félix Bautista was not able to overcome the error. He gave up a walkoff dinger to Adam Duvall. The Orioles lost, 9-8, in a game that they at one time led 7-1. Check out Stacey’s recap of the game for more of the not-so-lovely totals.
Two games is 1.23% of the 2023 regular season schedule. The sample sizes remain oh so tiny. Even issues that have recurred across two games are not yet a pattern. There certainly are some budding issues that we have to hope will be stopped before they become patterns for the Orioles.
Outfield defense has been simply brutal. Each of the first two games has featured each of that day’s starting outfielders making at least one poor play that cost the Orioles at least one run. McKenna’s drop that led to the capper loss on Saturday afternoon was the only one that went down as an error, but each of Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays have had two of these plays and Anthony Santander made mistakes on Thursday as well.
It’s tough to even do much evaluating of anything else with defense that bad. Yeah, the Orioles have given up 18 runs in two games now and that’s bad for the pitchers, but probably at least seven of those runs had no business scoring in the first place with competent defense. Is this something where it’s just going weird with afternoon games in Fenway to start out the season? Or is this going to play out again and again through the season? If it’s the latter, the crisis point where something must be done cannot be far off. The team cannot afford to give away games or make easy games into stressful ones regularly.
The best thing about baseball is sometimes also the worst thing. The next day, they all pick up and try again. The Orioles can still get out of Boston with a series win if they pull of a win in the finale today. If they’re fortunate enough to win today, it would be hard to be unhappy in the long run with winning an AL East series on the road. If they lose today, then Saturday’s mess will only hurt all the more.
Cole Irvin gets the ball for the Orioles in the 1:35pm Eastern finale as the O’s will try to shake off the loss and try again. It will help if they can actually get a starting pitcher to go six innings, which has not occurred through two games. That is why they acquired Irvin. Tanner Houck, who had a 3.15 ERA in 60 big league innings last year, is set to pitch for Boston.
Around the blogO’sphere
Hyde on McKenna and other problems: “We’ll play better outfield defense” (Baltimore Baseball)
Not that he could really say anything else at this juncture, but the manager still believes in his players.
Instead of showing financials as promised, Orioles CEO John Angelos offers three minutes of deranged horse shit (Defector)
Included because John Angelos deserves the griping and because there are only so many websites out there where you’re allowed to put “horse shit” in the headline (this isn’t one of them) and I respect the one that does.
For Orioles on first Opening Day roster, being together was the best part (The Baltimore Sun)
The spring training and season-opening vibes for this team were near impeccable. What we’re going to find out after losses like yesterday’s is how long those vibes can survive through adversity.
Break-camp rosters for Bowie, Aberdeen, and Delmarva (Steve Melewski)
To my surprise, last year’s #1 overall pick Jackson Holliday is starting out at the Low-A affiliate. I suspect, or at least hope, that he won’t be there for very long.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
The Orioles were last victorious on this day two years ago. That was an Opening Day game played in Boston, with John Means, Tanner Scott, and César Valdez combining on a two-hit shutout. Ryan Mountcastle drove in two of the Orioles three runs as the 2021 Orioles started off 1-0.
There are a handful of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1996-97 outfielder Pete Incaviglia, 1961 three-game pitcher Gordon Jones, 1957 pitcher Art Ceccarelli, and 1959 outfielder Bobby Avila.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Carolingian king Charlemagne (747), fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen (1805), novelist Émile Zola (1840), baseball Hall of Famer Luke Appling (1907), actor Alec Guinness (1914), musician Marvin Gaye (1939), baseball Hall of Famer Don Sutton (1945), and actor Pedro Pascal (1975).
On this day in history...
In 1800, Beethoven’s First Symphony had its premiere in Vienna, being led by the composer himself, Ludwig von Beethoven.
In 1982, Argentina launched an invasion of the British-controlled Falkland Islands, marking the start of the two-and-a-half month Falklands War.
And that’s the way is is in Birdland on April 2. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!