BALTIMORE—Even though the Boston Red Sox are not as good as the team that won 108 games and the World Series, the Orioles still aren’t close to being competitive with them.
This year’s Orioles are only marginally better than the team that lost a franchise-record 115 games in 2018 and are just 3-6 against the Red Sox.
On Friday night, they were blasted, 13-2, and with Chris Sale pitching, the Orioles’ chances didn’t look great on Saturday.
Sale, who hasn’t been the pitcher he’s been in the past, allowed two runs to the Orioles in six innings, but those two runs weren’t enough in a 7-2 loss to the Red Sox.
The Orioles, who struck out 14 times against Sale in eight innings on their way to a record-setting 22 strikeouts in a 12-inning loss on May 8, fanned 10 times against him on Saturday. They totaled 15 strikeouts, equaling their high for a nine-inning game. They also committed two errors and a number of mental mistakes.
“The bottom line is we have to play almost perfect to win against good clubs,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Last night was embarrassing and tonight was just real sloppy defensively.
“Walking the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning in a two-run game, falling asleep on defense in the outfield, not catching the ball on the infield, breaking too early in a stolen base attempt which allows a run, not catching the ball on a stolen base attempt — a lot of things that we can’t do because we can’t overcome them. We’re not talented enough offensively, we don’t have shutdown guys on the mound to be able to win. So, we have to play almost perfect, and we just didn’t play well.”
The game was scoreless through five innings. In the sixth, Dylan Bundy, who had allowed four hits in the first five innings, gave up hits to the first four Red Sox hitters before leaving.
In five-plus innings, Bundy, who’s 3-8, allowed three runs, one unearned.
“I made a couple mistakes to a couple of hitters there and they were able to get the ball out in the outfield,” Bundy said. “But for the most part, I was making most of my pitches there and they were just able to squeeze them through the infield and it didn’t go our way.”
Sale, who gave up just three hits through five innings, gave up two runs to the Orioles in the sixth.
J.D. Martinez, who hit two home runs on Friday night, had another in the seventh against Richard Bleier.
In the eighth, the Orioles had a chance, with runners on first and third with two outs, but pinch-hitter Chris Davis struck out looking to end the inning.
Miguel Castro and his teammates gave up three add-on runs to Boston in the ninth.
“I’m going to steal a Joe Maddon term here I heard when he got to Tampa, ‘We’re taking inventory of what we have,’” Hyde said.
“That’s the way to look at it. We’re taking inventory of the players that we have, who’s going to be around for us when we’re good. Just evaluating our players. Our guys are getting an incredible opportunity and at times I feel like we take advantage of them for the most part.
“Days like the last couple days, guys haven’t. They need to start appreciating the opportunity that they’re getting. We’ve just got to clean up a lot of things defensively and on the mound.”
Hess moved to bullpen: Hyde has decided to move starter David Hess to the bullpen. Hess, who has not won in his 12 starts since pitching 6 1/3 hitless innings on April 1 in Toronto, is 1-9 with a 7.20 ERA.
Hess was briefly sent to the bullpen in late April, but then Alex Cobb was put back on the 10-day injured list, and Hess returned to the rotation before throwing in relief.
“At that time, we felt like development-wise, it would be the best thing for him right now,” Hyde said.
“Now we’re back to that same feeling. I just think it’s going to be good for David. I think his stuff is going to tick up in more of a short spurt than five or six innings … I think it will be easier for him instead of pacing himself, [to] go out and attack three hitters to get through an inning.”
Rogers gets a start: Josh Rogers — who pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits in the Orioles’ 13-2 loss to Boston on Friday — will start Wednesday in Oakland in place of Hess.
When Rogers was called up, he had an 8.51 ERA in 11 starts at Triple-A Norfolk.
“I had two decent starts down at Triple-A before I got called up, so I probably had a little bit of momentum,” Rogers said.
“I was just throwing the ball down the middle. It’s as simple as that. I was throwing too many strikes and not enough quality strikes … It was a real difficult month, month-and-a-half for a little bit.”
Andrew Cashner, who was supposed to start Friday but didn’t because of a blister on his right middle finger, will start Monday at Oakland if his finger is OK.
Hyde said he’s comfortable with Cashner, Bundy, John Means and Gabriel Ynoa, and he’ll experiment with the fifth starter.
“We’re open to a lot of different things,” Hyde said. “We’re going to give Josh a look. I think we’re going to be playing with that spot all year long.”
Yacabonis back again: Jimmy Yacabonis is back for his third stint with the Orioles. Yacabonis, who began the year with the Orioles, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on April 28, recalled on May 11 and optioned again on May 16.
“We obviously need somebody,” Hyde said. “Jimmy can go more than an inning. He’s thrown the ball well the last couple of times at Norfolk, so we need the body.”
In 11 games with the Orioles, Yacabonis had a 6.11 ERA. Yacabonis was 1-2 with a 4.74 ERA in 11 games at Norfolk. He wasn’t surprised the Orioles recalled him.
“They told me to be prepared,” Yacabonis said. “I’m always ready to go.”
Last year, the Orioles experimented with Yacabonis as a starter.
“It’s good to know that I have that role, and that I’m solidified in that role as a bullpen guy,” Yacabonis said. “I think that coming in those late situations in Norfolk, in those tight situations and getting some big out really gave me that edge that I lost last year. It gave me my edge back and my confidence back in my stuff.”