O’s offense kept coming back, but they lose the series opener

For Orioles fans, losses to the New York Yankees provide frustration whether they come with the Orioles in first place or last, contending for the playoffs or 60 games out of first place.

It was frustrating that, while the Orioles kept coming back last night. They could not get over the hump. They trailed 6-0 and pulled within 6-4. They trailed 9-4 and pulled within 9-8 but a 10-8 loss was how their start to the final road trip ended up. The Orioles are now 44-109.

The Orioles offense was good last night and the club hit three homers for the first time since Aug. 14 versus the New York Mets. But in the last 10 games, the Orioles have scored in order, two, zero, five, six, zero, eight, zero, four, two and eight runs. That is 35 runs over 10 games. That is eight runs twice, but three shutouts as well and the club has scored two runs or less in five of the past 10 games.

Seeing three homers was welcome for an O’s team had hit one homer or none in 14 of the previous 17 games.

But right-hander Yefry Ramírez could not build on his strong start versus the Chicago White Sox and gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings. The Yankees just kept scoring and the Orioles have now allowed 10 runs or more four times the last 13 games.

With nine games to go the Orioles could lose anywhere from 109 to 118 games. They can’t catch the all-time losingest club. The 1962 Mets lost 120. The 2003 Tigers lost 119. The 1916 Philadelphia Athletics lost 117 and the 1935 Boston Braves lost 115. If the Orioles go 3-6 or worse in the last nine games, they will be among the five teams with the most losses ever.

Stewart-Bumps-Mullins-Black@NYY-sidebar.jpgDJ Stewart entered last night’s game as a pinch-hitter and hit a two-run homer in the eighth off David Robertson to pull the Orioles within 9-8. Wednesday Stewart homered in the third to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead on Toronto. He’s hit two big homers, one off a Marco Estrada changeup and one off a David Robertson curveball in the past two games.

It was puzzling to me when Stewart didn’t start yesterday. Yes the Yankees started lefty CC Sabathia, but Stewart hit better versus lefties in Triple-A this year. Plus, at this point of the year should the Orioles really be worried about the opponent pitcher? Stewart had a couple of positive nights in Baltimore and should have been allowed to carry that momentum into Friday’s series opener. Stewart went 0-for-13 his past five games. Now, over his last three, he is 4-for-7 with a double, two homers and three RBIs.

Finally, the USA Today report Friday that manager Buck Showalter will not return in 2019 but that vice president Dan Duquette will, was the first report by any major outlet, local or national, about the futures of the team’s top two baseball decision-makers. The club has made no announcements and now we all wait to see if the report proves correct.

On the MASN telecast last night, broadcaster Gary Thorne asked Showalter about the report during the postgame interview. He was asked if he had any comment on the report.

“Not really. I got asked about it today. I understand those things, but no one said anything to me. But I’m going to spend everyday trying to making the Orioles as good as I can and see where life takes us,” said Showalter.

When fans discuss and debate Showalter and Duquette, there is sure to be much emotion involved. Some fans “blame” one more than the other as they size up the mess that the 2018 season turned into. Some fans want both men gone and some want one or both to stay.

I would expect when the season ends that the Orioles have some quick announcements to officially let everyone know about the future of both men. They deserve that and so do the fans. The club needs to move foward and make more big decisions coming up. No reason to let this drag out.

Moving forward, it would be nice to know the management pecking order and who is making the final call on baseball decisions. All teams have debates about big decisions among their top brass. But someone has to be at the top of the food chain to break ties or make the final calls. If the Orioles hire a new GM, that person should be allowed to hire the manager. If Duquette is staying and is at the top of that food chain, so to speak, he needs to hire the next manager.

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