Some observations from Tuesday night's loss
After Adam Lind hit his walk-off homer in the 11th last night, there wasn't much life in the Orioles clubhouse -- as should be expected.
But the person probably taking it the hardest was second baseman Robert Andino, who made a key throwing error in the third that allowed a run to score and went 0-for-4 with a sacrifice fly. In his last four at-bats, he came up with five runners in scoring position and stranded all but the one, on the sacrifice.
Andino entered the game just 5-for-33 with runners in scoring position. At some point a pinch-hitter could have been used (Nolan Reimold), but then Ryan Adams would have had to enter at second base, leaving no one but reserve catcher Craig Tatum on the bench.
Andino has been good in certain ways this season, but he's been dreadful in the clutch. And he knew it Tuesday night. He sat lifeless at his locker and, when interviewed, spoke almost in a whisper.
He said he was particularly frustrated by this loss: “For me it is [more frustrating] because I had a few of them [opportunities] and I didn’t come through. The pitchers kept us in it; we just didn’t come through when we needed to.”
Another alarming trend this season is the number of homers reliever Koji Uehara is allowing. Uehara has been very good this year, but he has surrendered five homers in 29 2/3 innings after serving up five in 44 innings all of last year.
Of the eight runs he has been charged with this season, six have come on home runs.
He started a second inning Tuesday for just the fourth time this season. He has allowed homers in two of those four. In the other two, he didn't allow a run, so it's not necessarily a product of his being gassed in his second inning.
If starter Chris Jakubauskas wants to stay in the rotation, he needs to throw strikes. Period. That's what he did in his first start, when he threw five scoreless innings against the Oakland A's. Tuesday, against the Blue Jays, he walked four, threw a wild pitch and hit a batter. Jakubauskas has walked 11 batters (and struck out just 13) in 23 innings in the majors this season. He walked just 27 batters in 93 big league innings before this year.
The Orioles have starting options with better stuff than Jakubauskas, but they went to him because he is a strike-thrower and that was desperately needed. So he must get back to that his next time out or he may not have a long stay in the rotation.
Manager Buck Showalter was asked whether the team's terrible record at Rogers Centre could be in his players' heads, and he quickly shot back, "No." I can't imagine it is much of a factor. Most players at this level don't think that way -- in fact, I'd be surprised if more than a handful of these Orioles knew that they've lost 15 in a row here (at least until we asked them after the game).
The truth is the Orioles rarely pitch well here against a good offense, and that's a much bigger reason for their woeful play here than anything psychological.