Losing to the Yankees is about as frustrating as it gets for an Orioles fan. But blowing a lead to New York, helping them with a key error and failing time after time with runners in scoring position takes the frustration to an even higher level.
Unfortunately, the O’s and their fans have been here before against this team. The Orioles went just 5-13 against the Yankees last year and are 15-41 in the series since 2009. The Orioles are 9-24 in their last 33 Camden Yards games against New York.
The Yankees tried to hand last night’s game to the Birds with Freddy Garcia issuing five wild pitches, they gave the O’s an unearned run due to an error, and their batters went 2-for-18 with runners in scoring position and fanned 14 times on the night. Still, they beat the Orioles.
Yeah, frustration is the word for it.
But the Orioles are 3-2 after five games and it hasn’t all been bad through the season’s first five games.
The good: That would be the starting pitching, which is the key to the whole season and has been stellar so far. I’ll sure take a starters’ ERA of 1.99 each turn through the rotation. Four of the five pitched well and Wei-Yin Chen had an impressive debut. He showed good control, competed against a tough lineup and showed poise for someone making his first major league start.
Jason Hammel and Chen look like they have good enough stuff to have a chance to be good, Jake Arrieta clearly looks improved and Tommy Hunter made a strong season debut. Only Brian Matusz really struggled.
If the starting pitching continues to be this solid, the Orioles have a chance to have more fun this year than last. There is clearly something to build on here.
The bad: The Orioles are off to a very poor start when batting with runners in scoring position. They went 0-for-8 last night, are 2-for 23 in this series for an average of .087 and are just 6-for-41 on the season for an average of .146 when batting with RISP.
The pitchers deserve more clutch hits than this. The Orioles loaded the bases in the last of the ninth, but J.J. Hardy popped out to end the frame. It was set up for an exciting walk-off win, but they couldn’t get it done.
The ugly: We keep hearing Mark Reynolds is improved on defense, but we sure have yet to see it. He made his second error last night and it led to a pair of unearned runs in the top of the sixth. Had he cleanly fielded the ball Russell Martin hit to him, the O’s could have taken a 4-2 lead to the seventh. Instead they went to that inning tied 4-4.
Reynolds still looks awful at third. He has also made some nice plays, but he did that last year too amid a pile of errors. I don’t know what the answer is for him and it’s too soon to bury the guy with criticism. But after a poor year in 2011 at the hot corner, he’s off to a bad start now with the glove and his miscue last night directly led to a loss.