It's getting ugly fast for Orioles
I'm sure that everyone is going to focus on second baseman Blake Davis' error in his Major League debut, which brought home both the game-tying and go-ahead runs off Zach Britton in the fifth inning today.
And I guess I understand that. That play has to be made by a professional baseball player. But my game story off of the Orioles' 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates is focused on how Davis' gaffe shouldn't obscure what is going on with these Orioles.
Their starting pitching is inconsistent, they can only count on about three relievers in key spots, their offense comes up especially small in key spots, the defense is below average at best and abysmal at worst, and they are so void of quality depth that Blake Davis was asked to make his Major League debut at a position that he hadn't played all season.
In fact, Davis has started only 19 games at second base over six minor league seasons spanning 493 games. All of those starts came last year.
“I misread it,” said Davis, speaking about Josh Harrison's groundball which bounced through his legs, allowing the two runs to score. “I thought it was going to skip up and bounce up a little bit higher and it stayed down on me. I need to make that play. I feel terrible.”
The Orioles had chances to take Davis off the hook, but they went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven baserunners. They stranded 26 baserunners in the three-game series, and went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position over the final two games.
They also didn't exactly get great starting pitching against a Pirates' offense that the Orioles three best pitchers right now should have handled: Britton, Jeremy Guthrie and Jake Arrieta combined to allow 14 runs (11 earned) on 21 hits and six walks over 17 1/3 innings.
"I definitely feel like it was a missed opportunity,” said Britton who allowed five runs (three earned) over six innings in absorbing his fifth loss. “With the division that we're in, we want to be able to compete and we have to come out and take two of three from these teams. They've been playing really well, but we've been hitting well enough and pitching well enough to beat these teams."
The scary part is this: The Orioles went just 3-6 on this road trip while playing the Pirates, Washington Nationals and Toronto Blue Jays. All three of those teams were under .500 at the start of action today.
The part of their schedule that was supposed to be forgiving is now over. The Orioles play their next seven series, or 23 consecutive games, against teams with winning records. That includes 14 straight contests from July 4 to the 20th against the three teams – the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians - currently leading their respective divisions in the American League.
"If you dwell on it between here and the plane, you can't live in that world,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. “I can come back on some games that didn't look like they presented a good option for us, but we ended up winning those games. We won one game in each city that we went into and we'll try to learn from it. If you stay in that woe is me mentality, nobody feels sorry for you. You've got to pick yourself up. We had some good things happen on this trip. We swung the bats well. Some guys are giving us a chance. We're fighting through some health things."