ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles had collected at least two extra-base hits in 34 consecutive games, a streak that ended Friday night at Tropicana Field. And they didn't start a new one yesterday.
The Orioles were held to four hits, all singles. They've totaled one run and six hits in the first two games of their series against the Rays.
Forget the angst over Kevin Gausman. Where's the offense?
"Well, we're facing a pretty good pitching staff," said first baseman Chris Davis after yesterday's 8-0 loss. "(Chris) Archer last night was pretty dominant, moving the ball around and changing speeds. He threw a lot of strikes, and then (Jeremy) Hellickson doing the same thing today. Obviously, with those kind of guys, you want to get them out of the game as early as possible and get into the 'pen. But they did a good job of keeping us off the bases and off the scoreboard, as well. You've got to start game-planning for tomorrow and try to at least take one from them.
"As the season progresses, you're going to have high and lows. Obviously, the offense isn't going to be able to continue to swing like we have all year. There are going to be times when we have to scratch out a few runs and try to win a close ballgame. It's a little bit different this time around. Obviously, they're throwing the ball well and we need to take advantage of every guy we get in scoring position."
Davis is 0-for-7 in this series. Nick Markakis is 0-for-8 and Adam Jones is 1-for-7. Add them up and it comes to 1-for-22.
Davis has struck out 15 times in his last eight games.
If you're waiting for the Orioles to option Gausman, you might want to tear open a Snickers.
Manager Buck Showalter doesn't sound like a guy who's looking to make a change. This is part of the process in Gausman's development and Showalter is willing to let it play out - at least for now.
And I ask again, who would you bring up to replace Gausman? Jair Jurrjens couldn't make his start with Triple-A Norfolk last night because of a sore thumb. Jake Arrieta allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings in his last start. Josh Stinson has a 4.60 ERA in 10 starts with the Tides, and it went down after he held Louisville to one run in 6 1/3 innings on Friday. Tsuyoshi Wada needs more time on his injury-rehab assignment.
Left-hander Zach Britton is the most intriguing possibility. I haven't heard any reports on him lately - beyond the blister and broken nail issues from earlier - but he's allowed six earned runs (eight total) in his last four starts over 25 innings, with nine walks and 21 strikeouts.
Steve Johnson is on the disabled list with a strained oblique. Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland could get a start down the road, but is he presently an upgrade over Gausman?
"I think anytime he takes the mound, you've got a good chance of winning," Davis said of Gausman. "He's got great stuff. I think he's learning as he goes right now. That's one of the downfalls of being called up at a young age. You have to learn as you go.
"We trust in his stuff and the fact that he's going to go out and throw strikes. That's one of the things that we want, a guy who's going to pound the strikes zone. If he's going to get hit, he's going to get hit. Eventually, he'll make an adjustment."
The Orioles acquired first baseman Seth Loman from the White Sox organization Friday night for cash considerations. If his name sounds familiar, you must follow the Carolina League. Or guys who get hit by a lot of pitches.
Playing for Winston-Salem in 2010, Loman set the Carolina League record by being struck 30 times, six more than the previous mark. He's been hit by 142 pitches in 668 games.
Could the Orioles be looking to change their color scheme from orange and black to black and blue?