TORONTO - The so-called second half of the season - the post All-Star part - began for the Orioles in similar fashion to much of their first half. They suffered a brutal loss, one where the winning hit kicked off or under the gloves of both left-side infielders. Tim Beckham was at short and Renato Núñez at third. They couldn’t make the play and Toronto produced an 8-7, 10-inning win.
The Orioles are 0-5 this season at Rogers Centre and three of those losses were walk-off losses in the tenth inning. A comeback that included five runs and three homers in the eighth and ninth innings, still came up short.
With two outs and no one on in the Toronto tenth, Beckham mis-fired on an off-balance throw on a ball where he probably should have taken the time to plant his feet and make an accurate throw. Then the game-winning hit eluded him as well.
To his credit, he fell on the sword for the loss.
“The play has to be made every time,” said Beckham. “We played a good game as a team. It sucks it came down like that.”
It was not a strong first game of defense on the left side without Manny Machado at shortstop.
Before the game there much clubhouse talk of the Orioles going on minus Machado and also going on as the Orioles move into a rebuilding mode.
“We were able to acquire a lot of good young players, as opposed to a comp pick,” said manager Buck Showalter of the trade. “That is exciting. I’m excited about the direction and what we’re going to try and do here and how we are going to go about it. I’ve done this a few times. If you embrace and stay true to it, it can pay a lot of dividends in a lot of ways.”
Showalter said young players throughout the organization should understand that their time could be coming.
“Oh sure. If I was one of those five players traded over here, I’d be on cloud nine,” he said. “Not only them but we’ve got a lot of good prospects in the organization that I’ve had fun watch develop. Now an opportunity will be there for them. They control it, like they always have. Not many people standing in their way. From a morale standpoint, its really high throughout the organization. Think of the impact that the scouts and player development people and everyone knows that what they’re doing is going to be very impactful.”
First baseman Chris Davis, who hit his 10th home run Friday, said losing Machado makes this the end of an era for the Orioles.
“There is definitely a little bit of sadness,” said Davis. “But for me personally it is almost a rejuvenation of energy if you want to call it that. A new set of challenges and I’m looking forward to going through that with the guys we have here now. If we get more new faces here over the next few weeks, we welcome them in.
“It’s definitely a new direction. For me it’s encouraging to know that we’re doing something to try to establish a winning atmosphere again. That was important to me when I signed and will be until the day I stop playing. You have to make the best of the situation that we’re in. You can’t let this stuff cloud your mind when you take the field. You have to compete and do everything you can to put yourself on top.
You never want to hear the world rebuild, but at the same time, you have to understand something had to change. For us to continue to do what we’ve been doing and continue to lose it would be foolish not to try something different,” Davis said.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop said when Machado told him about the trade Wednesday, he first said to Schoop, ‘I’m going to miss you buddy.’ Schoop was vacationing at a lake and then cut that short and drove to Machado’s house for an in-person goodbye where he said he cried.
“Me and this guy, we lived together since the minor leagues since coming up,” Schoop said. “We became really good friends outside the field. I met his wife and he met my wife. We ride together, we die together. That’s how me and him were. He’d come to Curacao to come visit me. I go to Miami. I think this is tough. I’m still going to see him and he’s going to see me but you’ve got to be professional in baseball. This guy believed in me more than I believed in myself. “He pushed me to the limit. Me and him fight like brothers and two minutes later, we’re good. That’s what brothers do. He told me I can be the best.”
Then in his first game without Machado there, Schoop hit a game-tying solo homer with two outs in the ninth. It was his 100th career homer. It set up a possible feel-good postgame story with Schoop homering. But alas, for the 2018 Orioles something always seems to go wrong and it did again.
No longer Tillman time?: After his injury-rehab assignment ended with his last start for Triple-A Norfolk, right-hander Chris Tillman was designated for assignment yesterday. The Orioles have offered to keep him with Norfolk or Tillman can become a free agent. He hadn’t made a decision as of yesterday.
Tillman went 0-3 with a 6.75 ERA and allowed a .333 average against in six rehab starts. It just wasn’t nearly good enough.
“There were some good things and some challenging things,” Showalter said of Tillman. “Just didn’t feel like in the stage we are that he was doing enough things to warrant say taking (Jimmy) Yacabonis or (Yefry) Ramirez or whoever, that opportunity away from them. He might get an opportunity with us. But talking with everyone that was with him through his rehab starts, we just thought this was the best direction to go. And I agree with it.”
Zach Britton said: “It’s tough. Been with Tilly for a long time. It’s kind of a changing of the guard when you think about where we are now. We had a couple of good runs, but unfortunately we didn’t get as far as we wanted to a couple of those years. It’s kind of a new era I would say. Hopefully Tilly can get back to that level of performance he wants to get to. Maybe he’ll stay in Norfolk, I don’t know. I’ll reach out to him later.”
The result last night was the Orioles’ seventh one-run game in their last nine games and their fifth in a row. They are 4-3 in those seven games.
Toronto has won five in a row over the Orioles, their longest win streak since taking 12 in a row during the 2010 season.