For a while the Orioles pitching was so good they could and did win games without scoring very much. They beat Houston 2-0 and 3-1 on the last road trip and added wins in Cleveland by scores of 4-0 and 3-0. Hard to lose when you don’t allow a run as the Boston Red Sox learned Sunday.
The Boston pitching made a first-inning run stand up as the Orioles lost 1-0 to the Red Sox. It’s their first home 1-0 defeat since Aug. 5, 2020 versus Miami.
Just Friday night the Orioles beat Boston 3-2 and they had a chance to win another series. But their offense just keeps coming up short and eventually it caught up with this team.
The Orioles (73-67) had a disappointing 4-6 homestand, especially since they started it going 2-0. But they ended it going 2-6.
“Very disappointing, yeah. I thought our guys battled today and Kyle Bradish was great. But you can’t get three hits and expect to win,” said manager Brandon Hyde.
Postgame Sunday Hyde agreed with an assessment that with so many players on offense struggling it leads to most of the lineup struggling when even those that are hitting well can try to compensate for those that are not.
“It’s a little bit of a domino, I think yeah,” said Hyde. “We ran into this early in the season also. Where guys tried to do too much at the plate. Our rallies honestly have come in the last few weeks from walks and getting traffic that way. We’re not stringing hits together. Which is good to take walks and keep the line moving. But this last handful of days we just have not kept the line moving very well. Got to get better.”
They need more hitters using the whole field and Sunday the Orioles had just three singles and struck out 14 times. They were shutout for the second time in the last eight games and held to three hits for the second time in the past four games. In those four games they scored just one, three, four and zero runs.
They have scored three or fewer runs 10 times in the last 16 games and again due to pitching, actually won four of those 10 games.
“We are just really trying to fight right now to get some runs on the board for our pitching staff,” said outfielder Austin Hays who went 2-for-3 with a walk. “They’re doing a great job for us. Bradish had another really good start today. We just got guys on in a couple of different innings and just couldn’t get that big hit to get something rolling for us. We need that one big hit to open the gates for us and we’re not getting that right now.
“I think it’s just a combination of some balls that are getting hit hard and get caught. (Left fielder Tommy) Pham made an unreal play on the ball (Ryan Mountcastle) Mounty hit. Ramon (Urias) smoked another ball to center. Other pitchers were doing a good job of not leaving a lot of mistakes in the middle of the plate. Think maybe we’re swinging at some edgy stuff maybe earlier in the counts making some weak contact. Think it’s just a combination. Mounty is swinging the bat so good right now it’s just unfortunate that a lot of those balls are getting caught.”
Hays badly needed to get a few hits and finally did Sunday. He was 1-for-19 his last five games and 3-for-32 his past nine.
“Yeah, I got a couple of balls to fall today,” he said. “Was able to use my legs on a soft chopper down the third-base line. I had two balls yesterday that were really close to falling in there. It’s a tough game. You can’t make yourself get hot, you just have to stick with it, put the work in. Just have a plan and execute it as best you can. Fight through it and get something going right now.”
On a Sunday where two of the AL wild card teams in Tampa Bay and Toronto lost, so did the Orioles and they need to start making up some ground and fast.
“We gotta starting scoring more runs for our pitching staff. We’re going to get something going. Rest up on this day off and come back and start rolling,” said Hays.
A real positive yesterday was another strong game from Bradish, who has thrown eight, seven and seven innings in three of his past four starts. And pretty remarkably, has allowed just two hits in each of those games and just one run in the three games.
Bradish allowed three runs earlier in the week against Toronto. But in those other games – versus Houston, Cleveland and Boston – he has thrown 22 innings allowing six hits and one run.
Bradish is pitching to a 2-1 record with a 1.44 ERA his last four starts. His ERA is 2.76 his past eight starts.