During the dreadful seventh inning, MASN Orioles analyst Mike Bordick put it succinctly. “This is hard to watch,” Bordick said.
In that awful inning, the Cleveland Indians scored five runs on their way to a 14-7 win over the Orioles. There were defensive misplays in the inning that weren’t counted as errors, but made it hard for Bordick–and Orioles fans watching at home to stomach.
The loss was the Orioles’ third straight and seventh in their last eight games, and their season record is 14-29.
In recent days, the Orioles had been buoyed by long starts, and in Wednesday’s doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, despite two more losses, David Hess and Andrew Cashner completed six innings.
While the Orioles had seen some longer starts from Cashner and John Means and a 7 1/3-inning gem by Dylan Bundy, there have been two many shorter starts for manager Brandon Hyde to add that fourth position player he craves.
Thursday night’s game proved why he needs eight pitchers in the bullpen. Dan Straily, who was handed a 5-1 lead, frittered it away in the third and fourth, and was out of the game after a 3 1/3-inning start.
While Straily could be running out of chances — his ERA now stands at an abysmal 8.51 — the most likely choice to replace him is Yefry Ramirez, who’s in the Orioles’ bullpen.
Last year, Ramirez was 1-8 with a 5.92 ERA in 17 starts, and has a 5.14 ERA in three appearances since his recall from Triple-A Norfolk.
Another candidate, Gabriel Ynoa, followed Straily to the mound, and he gave up four runs and took the loss. A few days ago, his ERA was healthy and now it’s up to 5.27. Ynoa won’t likely be starting anytime soon.
Because of Wednesday’s makeup doubleheader in New York, the Orioles will need a starter for Sunday’s game in Cleveland. Ramirez is the likely choice—unless the Orioles get another short start from Bundy tonight or Means on Saturday.
Josh Rogers could be recalled from Norfolk to get that start instead.
Straily was signed to eat innings for the Orioles, and he hasn’t pitched past five innings in any of his starts. The lack of an obvious replacement could keep him in the rotation for the time being.
Alex Cobb, who hasn’t pitched in nearly three weeks, isn’t anywhere close to returning. He’ll supplant an incumbent starter when his back is better.
Richard Bleier was activated from the injured list, and Jimmy Yacabonis was returned to Norfolk. In his first major league game action since April 8, Bleier allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings.
A healthy and effective Bleier is key to solidifying the shaky Orioles bullpen.
Paul Fry and Miguel Castro both worked for the second straight day, and Hyde may not use them for a third straight.
Mychal Givens, who is the Orioles’ nominal closer, didn’t pitch in either game of the doubleheader or Thursday night’s game, and will head into Friday with four days’ rest. Perhaps Hyde will use him no matter what the score.
Oriole opponents have scored 10 or more runs six times, but Thursday night’s game was the first time they’ve allowed 10 or more since April 22.
Making things even worse was that this loss took nearly four hours to complete. The doubleheader losses took just two hours, 12 minutes and two hours 39 minutes to play.
Trey Mancini hit a three-run home run, his ninth, and Rio Ruiz hit his fourth.
Mancini, Dwight Smith Jr. and Stevie Wilkerson each had three hits.