You’ve heard of bad losses. Last night’s loss was a bad one.
It makes a fist and punches you in the gut. It takes up two parking spaces. It uses up all the hot water. It raises gas prices. It hides the remote control. It brings 20 items into the express lane. It sits behind you in the theater and won’t stop talking. It hires Lindsay Lohan to babysit your kids.
Yeah, the kind of loss so bad, it should be put on timeout.
The Orioles led the Mariners 3-1 in the seventh inning. They had lost three of four games at home to the reeling Indians. They needed this one to reassert themselves, to start looking like contenders again.
When the dust settled, the Mariners - 13 games below .500 and 15-23 at home before the first pitch - were walking off the field with a 6-3 victory, and the Orioles were losers of six of their last seven games and 10 of 13.
The Orioles had a chance to gain a game on the first-place Yankees, but Jason Hammel tired, the defense committed one error and could have been charged with at least two more, and the offense managed three hits against four Seattle pitchers who won’t be showing up in Kansas City for the All-Star Game.
Did manager Buck Showalter stay with Hammel too long? That’s the popular opinion around here, but Showalter wanted to give him the chance to get out of the jam, as he’s done on previous nights with other pitchers. It’s often worked. Last night, it backfired.
If the Orioles don’t pull out of this funk, if they don’t tighten up their defense and resuscitate the bats and stabilize the rotation, they’re going to become sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline. This division isn’t going to keep waiting for them to take control of it.
They finally get Brian Roberts back in the lineup, and now he’s dealing with a sore groin. His replacement, Robert Andino, has committed 11 errors and could have been charged with his 12th last night after failing to hold Matt Wieters’ throw at second base in the decisive seventh inning. He was the team’s most improved player last season, but he’s not performing at the same level.
As I stated last night, it’s hard to blame Steve Pearce or Ryan Flaherty or Chris Davis or Steve Tolleson (when he was here) for any misplays in the outfield. They’re out of position. Xavier Avery needs to be starting in left field unless the Orioles can make a trade. Nick Markakis could return immediately after the All-Star break. In the meantime, plays aren’t being made and pitchers are suffering for it.
As for the offense, Showalter elevated the hot-hitting Wilson Betemit to third in the order, and he promptly went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts to end his 11-game hitting streak. Showalter is moving guys up and down. He’s playing the hand dealt to him, which includes a three-man bench.
Now the Orioles get Felix Hernandez tonight. Just what they don’t need at the moment - though they have a tendency to make every pitcher look like Felix Hernandez.
As for their own rotation, Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound tonight and Chris Tillman gets the start tomorrow, with Jake Arrieta being pushed back to Thursday night in Anaheim. Showalter confirmed it during his postgame interview on MASN.
It’s time for the Orioles to start pushing back. They’re being bullied, and not by the biggest kids on the playground.
NOTE: Hammel currently ranks third in the Final Vote balloting behind Yu Darvish and Jake Peavy. Vote totals haven’t been released, but Hammel is in the middle of the pack.