It has just been that kind of year for the Orioles. A day after their biggest first inning of the season and a game where they scored eight times, they were shut out at Camden Yards tonight.
And with this 5-0 loss to Toronto, the Orioles fall to 43-107. At 107 losses, the 2018 Orioles match the 1988 Orioles for most defeats in a season in club history. Unless the Orioles finish the year 12-0, they will set a new record with their next loss.
Tonight the Orioles were shut out for the third time in seven games on this homestand and the 15th time for the season. Toronto lefty Ryan Borucki went eight innings allowing just three singles. He improved to 4-4 with a 3.86 ERA on 105 pitches. The Orioles went just 3-for-26 against him and he retired the side in order five times.
Meanwhile the Orioles’ injury-riddled rotation turned to reliever Evan Phillips to make this start. It was his first start as a major leaguer and just the second of his pro career. He got a start at Triple-A Gwinnett on July 7, 2017.
Phillips retired the side in order in the first and got two strikeouts on 13 pitches. It was his first major league game since Aug. 15 and first game of any kind since he threw a scoreless inning Sept. 2 for Triple-A Norfolk.
But with two outs in the second, the Blue Jays struck for three quick runs within three batters and six pitches. Kevin Pillar doubled to left-center on a 1-0 pitch and scored when Rowdy Tellez singled on a 1-0 pitch. Danny Jansen then drilled a 2-0 pitch for a 3-0 lead. His second homer went 379 feet into the left-field seats to expand the Toronto lead.
Lefty Sean Gilmartin replaced Phillips to start the third and allowed just one run over 4 2/3 innings, giving the Orioles an outstanding effort in long relief. He gave up just two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Gilmartin lowered his ERA for the year to 3.43 after this 66-pitch outing. Over his past two games, he’s allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings.
Tonight he threw scoreless ball from the third through the sixth. But he gave up a solo homer in the seventh to Kevin Pillar to make it a 4-0 game as Pillar hit No. 14. Aledmys Díaz hit his 18th homer. It came in the eighth off Cody Carroll to make it 5-0.
Meanwhile, the Orioles offense has been a bit of all or nothing during this homestand on which the Orioles are 2-5. They’ve scored two, zero, five, six, zero, eight and zero runs in the seven games. When the Orioles swept Toronto in three straight in Baltimore from Aug. 27-29, they scored 29 runs on 41 hits.
The start of tonight’s game was delayed 30 minutes by rain. First pitch came at 7:35 p.m. But it ended with the Orioles losing for the ninth time in 11 games, 13th in 16 and for the 21st time in the past 27 games.
Chris Davis on the 107th loss to tie a record: “I mean it’s frustrating to say the least. Once we hit 100, it was just kind of like, I don’t know. I mean, I honestly had no words for it. It was embarrassing, it was frustrating. It’s one of those things you never want to be associated with. At the same time, you’ve got to learn how to turn the page and start somewhere. Why not start now? I mean, I’m not sure where we’re headed, but at some point you’ve got to change it up, I guess.”
Davis on what represents progress for this team: “I think the biggest thing is you’re looking to see if the younger guys are learning anything. If they’re finding out how to make adjustments at this level. And you also want to see how the clubhouse chemistry - what it’s going to be like for the next few years. Obviously, with a different looking team, you get a chance to see some guys that haven’t been around a whole lot so, obviously, we are still trying to win games. But on nights like tonight, you have to look at the little things and try to find positives.”
Davis on whether young guys are making progress: “I think so. You are starting to see the team jell a little bit. It’s tough when you have somewhat of a different lineup every night. But we understand that some of these guys will get looks. This may be the only chance that they have to really get a look in big league ballgames. I think the clubhouse chemistry has always been really good. The environment has always been good. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it was a little down right now just because of the loss and way everything is going.”
Phillips on getting the start, pitching well and then giving up three runs: “They gave me a heads-up yesterday that it could be me and then today around three, they gave me the final word that it would be me. Getting through those first five hitters, I wanted to get that last one really bad. I wanted to get the team back in the dugout and try to put some runs on the board and go back out there for a third inning of my own. It might have been a case with me trying to do too much, trying to press on the gas a little too hard, but I still think I made quality pitches and maybe had a little bit of bad luck. But I’ll be more determined to get that third out next time out.”
Gilmartin drew on his experience to handle tonight’s long outing: “It helps a lot. It helps. I don’t know how it would be if I was a first-year player, a rookie-type guy thrown into that situation. Every single time, you’re kind of thrown into a new situation, it’s a new challenge. It’s something I look forward to. New challenges are always fun. They’re also difficult, too. You just kind of have to roll with it.”