It’s gotten so bad that Dylan Bundy tied his career high tonight with seven earned runs allowed in 4 2/3 innings. Eight runs total to go with 11 hits. And back-to-back losses resulted to the fourth-place Rays.
How can the Orioles escape this pit of misery?
Bundy has been carrying the ladder, but he couldn’t take the necessary steps tonight.
The Rays led two batters into the game, scored twice in each of the first three innings and defeated the Orioles 9-5 before an announced crowd of 9,596 at Camden Yards to win the abbreviated series.
The Orioles have lost five in a row and 13 of 15. They’re 6-19 overall, 13 games below .500 the most since the end of the 2011 season. This is their worst start after 25 games since going 2-23 in 1988.
Adam Jones hit a two-run homer off Chris Archer in the fifth inning to reduce the lead to 8-4 and give him 557 extra-base hits to tie Boog Powell for fifth on the club’s all-time list. Danny Valencia homered off Sergio Romo in the eighth, but Chance Sisco’s throwing error in the ninth while trying to nab Carlos Gomez at third base accounted for the final margin.
C.J. Cron’s two-run homer in the first traveled 425 feet to center field and staked the Rays to an early lead. Teams have outscored the Orioles 28-7 in the first inning.
Wilson Ramos added a two-run shot in the second, also with no outs and also on a 92 mph fastball. The first three batters singled in the third to produce another run, and Ramos’ RBI single gave Tampa Bay a 6-2 lead.
The end came for Bundy after Mallex Smith’s two-out, run-scoring single. Brad Miller led off with a double and scored on Joey Wendle’s single.
Bundy also allowed seven runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Astros on June 23, 2017. He was spared a career-high eighth earned run tonight after Wendle took second base on Jones’ error and scored on Smith’s single. Jones ran down Wendle’s ball in left-center field and inadvertently kicked it.
The Orioles aren’t punting on the season, but they have no answers for what’s ailing them. The offense has perked up, but now the starting pitching is letting them down. They committed three more errors tonight. Half of their infield is on the disabled list, along with their closer, designated hitter and right fielder.
Mike Wright Jr. retired all four batters he faced with three strikeouts. He left on a high note. The bullpen didn’t allow an earned run in 4 1/3 innings, though Darren O’Day gave up Gomez’s one-out double that led to Sisco’s error. Anthony Santander was 4-for-34 in his last 11 games with an at-bat, but he collected three hits tonight. The Orioles outhit the Rays 16-13. Take the good where it comes.
Bundy allowed five earned runs over five starts before tonight. Only one home run in 31 2/3 innings. He was due for a bad night and it arrived while the Orioles were desperately in need of a stopper.
And so it goes.
The Orioles rallied against former teammate Chaz Roe in the seventh, beginning with Jace Peterson getting hit on the foot. Go easy on the infielders!
Jones singled with one out to chase Roe, but Chris Davis grounded into a 3-4-1 double play against José Alvarado.
Valencia homered with one out in the eighth. Santander singled again and Sisco was hit by a pitch to bring up Trey Mancini as the potential tying run. A 5-3 double play extinguished the threat.
Three straight innings with two on and one out, followed by a double play.
The Orioles wasted two-out singles by Jones and Davis in the ninth off Alex Colomé, with Pedro Álvarez striking out.
And so it goes.
Manager Buck Showalter on Bundy: “I thought he was going to get untracked there in the fourth. A guy who’s been pitching as well as him, you kind of wait for him to get back going a little bit. Just elevated some pitches he usually doesn’t in some areas of the strike zone. Uncharacteristic of him. He was frustrated with it. He felt good. He had an extra day’s rest. Everything was lined up pretty good. Just didn’t work out for him. He’ll get back on the horse.”
Showalter on chances to come back: “At least, we probably had three or four. We were right there. We kept creating opportunities. What did we have, 15 or 16 hits? And usually a couple hit by pitches and a couple walks. Probably more than that. I’m not sure. You’d like to think you’d have a night where you put up eight or nine runs. Just couldn’t get that big blow.”
Showalter on issues: “Defensively, that’s been hurting us, too. We did some things that we just need to be better at to win at this level. We have some well-pitched games and don’t hit and then you’ve got a guy who’s been pitching as well as anybody in the American League probably, has an off night. And that’s a night that you’d like to see the offense bail him out because we certainly owed him a few of those along the way this season so far.”
Showalter on whether he remembers a worse start: “I’d have to give it some thought. But I try to stay in the now and the now is not good, so we need to do something to change that. And that’s up to us. I think our guys know what’s at stake. It’s not one of those situations, ‘Oh, we’ll get them tomorrow. We’ll figure it out.’ No, it’s every day. Every day you’re trying to figure out a way to get going in the right direction. And it’s not just a matter of waiting for people to get healthy. You can’t do that. The season doesn’t stop.”
Bundy on his outing: “I was trying to mix it up even more than I was, throw the curveball a little bit more and they were able to hit that, too. They got off to a hot start there in two innings and I couldn’t really slow them down.”