The Orioles have not had a long losing streak all year, matching their season-high of four in a row with last night's 7-1 loss to Tampa Bay. Now with two games remaining in this series, they need to find a way. Find a way to score more against the Rays and get at least one game in this series to hold the playoff tiebreaker.
The Orioles offense recently went through a stretch of scoring 10 or more runs in four of five games, scoring 48 runs in the five contests. They scored 155 runs in a 22-game span, an average of 7.05 per game.
They would sure take that now after losses in this series by one and six runs. Baltimore batters are 6-for-59 (.102) this series with three homers, but no doubles or triples. They are 1-for-6 in the two games with runners in scoring position, showing they've had very few chances to do much on offense.
In the last four games, the Orioles have scored six runs on just 18 hits, going 2-for-24 with RISP.
Now they have to find a way.
"Nobody said this was going to be easy," said manager Brandon Hyde. "These things happen. You've just got to stay positive, and tomorrow's a new day and we've still got a lot of baseball left."
After they won a wild game a week ago today at Fenway Park, the O's held a four-game lead atop the AL East. Now they are tied with the Rays and Baltimore has two games left in this series and 15 remaining in the season.
A 1-5 stretch has opened the door for the Rays to take the division. The Orioles need to take it back these next two games.
The O's lone run last night came on Heston Kjerstad's solo homer in the sixth - both their first hit of the night and his first career hit.
On Sept. 15 last year, Kjerstad went 1-for-4 for Aberdeen in the High-A playoffs. Last night on that date he homered off AL wins leader Zach Eflin.
"That was surreal, honestly," Kjerstad said of his 418-foot shot. "I just wanted to get the first hit out of the way and to have it be a homer and see it go out of the yard and everything, it's really amazing. Truly something you dream of and really awesome to be able to experience that. You wouldn't want to do it anywhere else. The stadium was sold out, packed out. O's fans really showed some love to the team and everything like that. And to be able to thrive in that atmosphere was a lot of fun for me, and to be able to put on a show like that, too. Get the first one out of the way."
Honoring Adam Jones: Before Friday's game, Adam Jones officially retired as an Oriole, officially signing a contract with the club alongside O's executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias during a press conference.
Jones made such an impact on this franchise - on and off the field. He became a star here and was a star in the community as well. Born in San Diego, he now calls Baltimore his second home.
“Baltimore is a special part in my heart," he said. "I still consistently watch the Orioles games, even when in Japan. I adopted this city. My wife is from here, my kids were born here. We put our stamp here."
He did. And several players he played with returned to honor Jones as part of a pregame ceremony. If you didn't see it last night click here to see via the MASN YouTube page.
“My final time putting on a jersey will be here,” said Jones. “I’m forever grateful for what Baltimore has taught me. And I’m just glad I will always be welcome in this city. People here appreciated the way I carried myself, played the game and gave back.”
Jones stays close to MLB now with a role in the Commissioner's office and also as part of the Player's Alliance. He joked, or maybe there was some seriousness there too, about working again for the Orioles one day.
“Anything with the Orioles,” he said laughing and looking at Elias. “Here is your man, you have to ask him. Obviously, I’ve got young kids. So to be a coach that would be a stretch because it’s such a time commitment. But to be involved in a franchise would be awesome. Who wouldn’t want to work with a major league franchise? The reach you can have, the impact you can have."
Jones said if any current players ever want to talk with him or need advice he's happy to help.
“I am always an open book to anyone who wants me to ask any question. I am not going to invade anybody’s space. I know how major league players are. But I’m an open book.
“But I think they understand and by watching how the game has been so commercialized with social media and TV. There are enough interviews and guys that have talked they can see in the archives about how tough the playoffs are. I think they know what they have right in front of them. I don’t think they need anyone to tell them. Fans around the city when they go to breakfast and dinner are telling them how special of a situation they are in. They just need to believe in each other and believe in that clubhouse."