The Orioles suffered their fourth shutout loss of the season today and their first since June 8 at Tropicana Field. The Red Sox hadn’t blanked the Orioles at Camden Yards since winning 4-0 on July 20, 2011.
Manager Buck Showalter focused more on the offense today than starting pitcher Jason Hammel, who allowed three runs and walked a season-high five batters in 5 1/3 innings while remaining winless since May 27.
“I see the things everybody looks at, the ERA and what have you, and I’ve seen him pitch real well,” Showalter said after the 5-0 loss. “He was one of, if not, our best pitcher last year and has been at times this year. I’ve said this before. Because we don’t score any runs, if he had exited that game after six innings with the score 4-3, what are we talking about here?
“I’m trying to look at it through reality. I’m also not looking at it through rose-colored glasses. I know that because Ham has pitched well, we know he’s capable of better with the command. But you could go watch his work days. See a guy that’s pretty solid and just hasn’t been able to carry it consistently out on the mound. But there wasn’t much margin for error for him today because of (Jon) Lester. He’s pretty good.
“What did he end up with, five walks? I’m not sure how indicitive that is. Obviously, both pitchers were working with a smaller strike zone, but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. He pitched 5 1/3 and gave up three runs. I’m not going to over...
“The big emphasis, what I look at, is we didn’t score any runs. We didn’t mount much of anything offensively. We had that one shot at him, first and second, a lot because of Chris Davis, who ran out a routine ground ball to an All-Star second baseman (Dustin Pedroia), which you won’t see much. Nick (Markakis) did the same thing later. That was more it. When you’re not scoring runs, it certainly creates a lot more emphasis on having to be pretty fine as a pitcher.”
Guys are clearing pressing at the plate. One example may have come in the sixth when Matt Wieters struck out on a pitch around his eyes with the count full, runners on first and second and no outs.
“Matt took a lot of pitches a lot of people would have swung at to get to 3-0, 3-1,” Showalter said. “There’s two ways to look at it. The want-to sometimes... It depends how you define ‘pressing.’ That’s part of it. Everyone in professional sports and competition in general, you’re always wanting to do something, especially when you’re not doing something to the potential you know you have.”
The Orioles had won six straight series against the Red Sox before losing two of three this weekend.
The Orioles have lost nine of Hammel’s last 10 starts. The only win came on Adam Jones’ home run off Mariano Rivera on July 7 at Yankee Stadium.
Jones improved his daytime average to .387, highest in the majors, with two hits today.
Nick Markakis is batting .330 from the leadoff spot this season, second in the American League behind Jose Reyes (.336 before today).