The Orioles offense had scored 58 runs and hit 19 homers in going 5-2 during this long homestand. But those bats got shutdown today by Philadelphia 25-year-old right-hander Nick Pivetta.
Throwing a 94 mph fastball and some plus sliders and curves, Pivetta held the Orioles to a pair of hits over seven innings today, as Philadelphia beat the Orioles 4-1. Pivetta retired 17 of the final 19 batters he faced improving to 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA. He got 23 swings and misses among 99 pitches.
At least one Oriole came away impressed.
“Strike one. Name of the game is strike one,” said center fielder Adam Jones. “It’s the most important pitch in baseball. He was able to throw his fastball and his curveball. They were talking about the guy’s spin rate and all that kind of stuff. Must have had good spin rate and snap on his slider. He threw strike one and kept us off balance. High fastball, sliders down. Good recipe.”
The Orioles only run today came on Jones’ first-inning 422-foot homer to center. It extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Jones is batting .344 with three homers during the streak, his longest since another 11-gamer from June 16-30, 2016.
The Orioles outscored their opponents 59-46 in going 5-3 the last eight games at home. Their record was 8-26 when the homestand started.
“We’re building on something,” Jones said. “I think we swung the bats this homestand really, really well. So let’s just try and build on that and keep swinging the bats in Boston and Chicago and Tampa. But let’s start tomorrow in Boston and keep the bats hot. Keep the same approach that we had the last couple of days. Let’s try and barrel the ball up and not try and hit the ball too far but hit the ball hard.”
When you are 16 games under .500 this early in the season, taking it one day at a time is probably the best approach.
“That is what you have to do anytime. Can’t talk about next week if you don’t get there, right? So handle what we can handle. Handle tomorrow when it gets here,” Jones said.
Orioles starter Andrew Cashner falls to 1-5, with an ERA of 4.83 after allowing three runs and five hits over 5 2/3 innings. He took a two-hit shutout and 1-0 lead to the sixth, but the Phillies then knocked him from the game during their three-run inning.
“I thought I threw the ball well. In that sixth inning, the ball kept slipping out of my hand,” Cashner said. “It got pretty wet there and I just have to execute better. I left some changeups up. The ball that (Maikel) Franco hit in the four-hole, the changeup was up. I still thought it was a good pitch. I just have to execute better later in the game.”
But over his first five innings Cashner had a strong outing going.
“I was just trying to run the four-seam up and the offspeed down. I thought I did a good job for the most part making pitches when I needed to. I just ran into trouble in the sixth.”
Cashner has gotten two or fewer runs of support in six of his nine starts. He has just one win and the team has won just two of his nine starts.
“It’s frustrating but you have to trust the process - from your routine to your daily work. It can’t go this bad the whole season. You can get frustrated and get down, but you just have to trust the process and keep going.”
Jones threw some props Cashner’s way.
“I don’t really care about the win-loss record,” Jones said. “That is something he can’t control. I like the fact he goes after hitters. He’s not afraid and he pumps everybody up on the bench. He’s always into the game, whether he’s starting or not. The energy he brings on a daily basis is contagious. So, that is something I love to see, especially from a starter, pumping everyone up even when it is not their turn to pitch.”
“He brings a veteran presence. He’s been around the league seven or eight years. So, he understands the game, he understands the travel, he understands the life. He’s very good for some of the younger guys and good for some of the vets here. Show us something different. We’re showing him Baltimore and he can show us things he’s learned in various places and with various veterans that he’s played with.”
Chance Sisco added another caught stealing today and has thrown out 9-of-18 trying to steal. He began the day with the best caught stealing percentage in the AL and he was tied for most in the majors with eight with Jonathan Lucroy.
Tomorrow night the Orioles try to snap a 12-game road losing streak when they open a four-game series and 11-game road trip at Boston.