Orioles lose eighth straight in front of national TV audience - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles lose eighth straight in front of national TV audience

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—It was a surprising call to have a team with 94 losses showcased on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. But ESPN always likes a chance to put the New York Yankees on national TV, and the Orioles came along for the ride.

The national audience got to see the Orioles lose for the eighth straight time, one short of their season high. The 5-3 loss puts their record at 37-94.

Casual fans may not be familiar with some of the newer Orioles — the most exciting of whom, center fielder Cedric Mullins, didn’t play because of a hip injury — and it was the first time on national TV for the Orioles since they began their overhaul last month.

In the season’s first half, the Orioles were 28-69 for a .289 winning percentage. Since they traded shortstop Manny Machado, their record is 9-25 (.265). Their next three games are against the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom they are 1-12.

Their four-game sweep by the Yankees was the fifth time the Orioles have been swept in a four-game series this season.

Offensively, the Orioles have produced more in the post-Machado era. Through the first 97 games, they were hitting just .227, and in the second half, they’ve moved up to .261.

A number of the players who have contributed to that improvement may not be with the Orioles for the long term.

“I think everybody understands what’s going on, and the opportunity they’re getting to show what they’re capable of doing, because there’s going to be a lot of evaluation I’m sure as we go forward,” manager Buck Showalter said.

“I’m not going to sit here and beat them up about it, but certainly it’s a good opportunity to evaluate and we’ve got another month or so of it … They’ve been told, and they know that. You’d like to have them get some return with some Ws, but that’s been a challenge putting a lot of games together.”

Bundy’s woes continue

Starting pitcher Dylan Bundy allowed four runs on six hits in five innings, with his record dropping to 7-13, and his ERA rising to 5.37.

Bundy’s ERA was 3.75 when he won his seventh game of the season on June 23 at Atlanta. He rolled an ankle, missing a turn and sending him briefly to the 10-disabled list.

While he and Showalter insist his health is fine, the ankle injury has coincided with a downturn in his stats.

In his last four starts, Bundy has allowed 25 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings for an 11.64 ERA. He hasn’t completed six innings in any of them.

“I thought it was a tiny bit better, a step in the right direction,” Bundy said. “Still two pitches there, and that pretty much cost me the four runs.”

The key hits were Luke Voit’s third home run, a two-run shot, and a two-run double by Miguel Andujar.

Bundy acknowledged that the losing has affected him.

“Yeah, you guys just don’t see it,” Bundy said. “That’s been my thing ever since I‘ve played baseball. One thing my dad has taught me is never show emotion on the field because the other team can see it, players behind you can see it. You never try to show anybody emotion or what you’re thinking.”

Orioles playing small ball

After the trades of Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop, and the loss of Mark Trumbo because of right knee inflammation, the team has lost much of its home run power.

Trey Mancini hit his team-leading 18th home run on Sunday night, but only Trumbo (17), Chris Davis (16) and Adam Jones (13) are in double digits.

With few power weapons, the Orioles have become more aggressive on the basepaths. On Sunday night, they stole four bases for the first time since July 3, 2014.

Jace Peterson, who leads the team with 11 steals in 14 attempts, stole two; Jonathan Villar, who has five steals in as many tries since joining the Orioles Aug. 2, stole one; and Craig Gentry had the other.

Showalter isn’t known for managing a team with lots of stolen bases.

“You would if we had the skills to do it,” Showalter said. “If the matchups are there with the pitchers, not necessarily the catchers. These are a lot of the same pitchers we’d like to take advantage of if we had the matchups so to speak between the skill of your players and the pitcher’s time to the plate.”

Peterson, who’s become a useful member of the team with his versatility and speed, knows the team needs to run more.

“Especially with Trumbo out, we’re not just going to be able to just pop home runs all the time,” Peterson said. “So anytime we can get a single or get a walk, get guys that can get on second somehow. Stealing bases for us is big, that gets a guy in scoring position and then get a knock and get a run. You saw it tonight.”

Peterson is trying to make an impression on the Orioles, but tries to ignore the losing.

“You really can’t think about that,” Peterson said. “You start thinking about that kind of stuff and then before you know it, you kind of become miserable if things don’t go your way. Right now, we’re just trying to win ballgames.

“It’s not been the funnest as far as the outcome of the games, but as long as we can continue to have fun and just play hard and see what happens, it’ll take us to the end of the year, but we can go on a stretch. Now, it’s time to beat some teams that are in the playoff hunt and try to at least compete that way and just go out there and compete, do our work and see what happens.”

How many extra players?

On Saturday, rosters can expand to 40 players, and Showalter said that Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette had yet to broach the subject with him.

The Orioles will add a third catcher, which could be Norfolk’s Chance Sisco.

Showalter said adding non-roster players won’t be an issue because the team can maneuver its 40-rman roster.

Mullins out

Mullins, who took away a home run from Giancarlo Stanton with a leaping catch at the fence on Saturday, hurt his hip on a throw home, Showalter said. He hopes Mullins’ absence will be a short one.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. deqalt

    August 27, 2018 at 8:23 am

    What I took away from last night was the discussion about Buck. I found it kinda sad. This guy has given everything he had for Baltimore. He is the first manager I have watched that cares about the fan experience. He has never had a legit rotation yet went to playoffs. Clearly is a great baseball man and one of the best managers around. Why would we let him go? Not his fault Peter Angelos would not signinternational players. Not his fault Peter pushed for signing Chris Davis. Buck was handed a team that had no right fielder, your highest paid player is batting .169, your core are all free agents, you sign a legit starter a week before the season, and defensively weak. You can’t teach veterans to suddenly be a gold Glover.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 27, 2018 at 9:52 am

      As you know, deqalt, I’ve argued that Buck should be around for next year–and beyond. We’ll find out in the next few weeks if that’s going to happen.

  2. bigdaddydk

    August 27, 2018 at 8:25 am

    One thing I do like is that the O’s are running more. There’s a talent deficit, to be sure. This is not the roster that will carry the team to the Promised Land. Not by a long shot. But what they have is greater speed on the bases and in the field. Not seeing Trumbo and Mancini in COF spots makes me much happier. I like their bats in the order, but I want them at positions they belong at. I’d like to see Mancini dropped into the DH role for a while and put Gentry, Rickard, Mullins, Jones, and Andreoli (in some combination) in the outfield to cut down on runs allowed. Trumbo on the DL (hate for a guy to be injured, but I’d also take advantage of the situation) removes a bit of the logjam among our DH/1B types.

    I’d be curious, Rich. Who do you get the sense the team is thinking of as legitimate pieces next year? When everyone’s healthy, there are Trumbo (probably not going to get traded while rehabbing a knee this winter,) Mancini, Davis, Villar, and Mullins who I expect are locks to be on the team and regular contributors. But I have serious doubts about Beckham and I don’t see Joseph as a starting MLB catcher (good backup though.) I also don’t know what to expect of Jones, or if the team will make any effort to bring him back. Núñez may be a decent piece. I like his bat, but I’m unsure of his defense. He’s been better recently. When Wilkerson is back, I expect Peterson becomes expendable. I also can’t imagine that Andreoli and Gentry both fit in the plans. What about Rickard? Seems in addition to DH/1B types, we are also heavily loaded on 4th outfielders. Do you have any sense of how this is all going to shake out?

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 27, 2018 at 10:01 am

      Thank you for the question, BigDaddy. Beckham could get close to $5 million in arbitration, and that might be a little pricey for the Orioles, so he may not be backed.

      The Orioles don’t have a legitimate option at third. That’s why you’re seeing a lot of Nunez. Think of some of these players as not being the guys, but the guys to get them to the better guys.

      Two players who have made an impression are Austin Wynns and Paul Fry. They’re not guaranteed to be back, but they’ve shown well.

      Peterson is eligible for arbitration, and he’s making $3 million this year, which is very expensive for a player of his talents. He’s useful, but maybe not at this price.

      You’re correct. There are a lot of backup outfielder types, and I think the team may even try and get some more cheap, one-year bridge players in both the infield and outfield.

  3. Dblack2508

    August 27, 2018 at 8:49 am

    The big issue to this rebuild is 4 years of Chris Davis left. With plenty of outfield prospects, that affects two positions on team. Mancini and a better defensive outfielder.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 27, 2018 at 9:55 am

      How about if the Orioles are able to trade Mark Trumbo, and Davis is the part-time DH, does that somewhat mitigate the issue?

  4. Orial

    August 27, 2018 at 10:32 am

    I can see in 2019 an IF of Davis/Mancini at 1st,Villar at 2nd,Wilkersoon at SS,and Nunez at 3rd. That may all change by 7/1. OF gets complicated. Mullins in CF is a lock BUT are Hays,Diaz Gibbs be ready? Will Jones come back as the RF(He really seems to be slowing down). Either way they have to keep the OF quick and defensive minded. Not sold on any catcher. Trumbo trade bait for the next 16 month’s. Pitching–Cobb,Cashner and whatever sticks. 2020-2021 should be more indicative of a REAL direction. Side note–hope they buyout Davis after 2019 campaign(show some guts and bite the bullet).

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 27, 2018 at 7:53 pm

      Orial, who is Gibbs? Lots of question marks in the infield and outfield.

  5. Birdman

    August 27, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Can anyone explain why “Crush” Davis still refuses to bunt against the shift?

    The guy hit .215 last year. This year he is batting .167, and on his way to one of the worst offensive seasons in baseball history. Opposing third basemen are positioned so close to second base against Davis that he has almost the entire left side of the infield open. Yet he will not bunt. I realize that bunting to get on base may not seem very macho for a former home run champion, but its certainly better than endless strikeouts and weak ground outs to the right side of the infield.

  6. TheGreat8

    August 27, 2018 at 11:37 am

    as much as I’d love to have a hand in knocking the Yanks down to the road team in the play in game, this team needs to be swept by them. the only thing they have going for them this year is that #1 pick. And with the Royals just about as abysmally bad, they need every L they can get!

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 27, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Be careful of what you wish for, Great 8.

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