NEW YORK—Perhaps no 10-day period in Orioles history has featured such a great disparity in talent levels. Over the just-concluded 10 days, the remodeling Orioles have played the teams with the two best records in the American League, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
They lost nine of those 10 games — all seven they played against New York — allowed 98 runs and an astounding 32 home runs.
During that time, manager Brandon Hyde and first baseman Chris Davis got into a dugout dispute, and the Orioles suffered their second-worst loss ever, 23-2.
After losing four straight to New York, the Orioles end their 2019 series with a 2-17 record and 16 losses in a row, one away from the most consecutive setbacks to any opponent in team history — 17 against the Indians in 1954. What’s more, the Yankees hit .303 against the Orioles, averaged 7.95 runs per game and hit 61 home runs, the most against one team in a season.
On Wednesday, before the Orioles lost, 6-5, manager Brandon Hyde didn’t acknowledge relief that the Orioles don’t play the Yankees again until next March 26, when the Yankees come to Baltimore to open the 2020 season.
“Obviously, it’s a tough team for us to play,” Hyde said. “They’re a really good ballclub. It’s team that’s put together to win a World Series. We just haven’t pitched very well against them this year.”
The Orioles’ 82nd loss secured their third straight losing season after three postseason berths in the previous five years.
“It’s where we are,” Hyde said. “We’re starting from scratch a little bit, and these guys are trying to win a World Series.”
In their final 41 games, the Orioles won’t have to play the Yankees or Astros, but do have three games with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have the best record in the National League.
“I think going into those series, we were looking forward to the challenge,” Stevie Wilkerson said. “Obviously, we came up short in a lot of those games. They’re two really good teams, and they’re difficult series. We’re up for any challenge. These are difficult ones. Whoever we square up against, we’re going to at it with all we’ve got.”
Wilkerson hopes these games provide teaching moments.
“I think we learn that we have to do everything right to win those games,” Wilkerson said. “You’ve got to get timely hits, make timely plays, put guys away when they’ve got runners in scoring position, and we’ve got to drive our guys in when we have them in scoring position.”
Wednesday’s game was the second one-run defeat in the nine losses. The Orioles lost to Houston, 3-2, a night before the 21-run loss.
“There are going to be games like we’ve seen the last week, and you’ve just got to try to stay patient and stay positive and know that there are better days ahead,” Hyde said.
“The way you get better is to play teams like this and take some punches … We’re going through a rough patch playing these really good clubs.”
After an off-day on Thursday, the Orioles play three games with the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Bundy’s day: Dylan Bundy allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up four in the first inning. Bundy has allowed 22 first-inning runs, double the number of runs in his second worst inning (11 in the sixth).
Gary Sanchez’s three-run home run was the big hit in the first. Bundy didn’t allow another hit until Sanchez singled with two outs in the sixth. Gleyber Torres doubled, and Richard Bleier relieved Bundy.
Bleier walked Mike Tauchman on a pitch he was convinced was a strike and allowed a two-run single by Mike Ford to push the Yankees’ lead to 6-2.
Bundy pitched inside more often than he has in the past.
“They lean out over the plate all the time and when you’re making quality pitches and they’re getting homers and singles and doubles off them, you’ve got to get them off the plate with a purpose,” Bundy said.
Nunez gets hot: After going hitless in 14 at-bats, Renato Nunez homered in his last at-bat on Tuesday night. He had a career-high five hits on Wednesday.
Nunez is the first Oriole with five hits in a game since Matt Wieters exactly three years ago at San Francisco.
His two-run double in the seventh cut the Yankees lead to 6-5.
Jonathan Villar, who had been 0-for-19 against New York, singled for the Orioles’ first run in the first. Pedro Severino’s two-out single scored Nunez with the second run in the third.
After Nunez’s double, Villar doubled against Adam Ottavino to bring the Orioles within 6-5. Ottavino struck pinch-hitter Chance Sisco to end the seventh on a borderline checked-swing call.
Nunez singled with two outs against Aroldis Chapman in the ninth.
“Noonie obviously had a great day, great at-bats all game,” Hyde said. “As I’ve said many times, I love when Noonie hits the ball the other way. So, yeah, anytime you get a hit off Chappy it’s a pretty good accomplishment and he just had an outstanding day.”
With Ottavino, Zack Britton and Chapman working the last three innings, it’s difficult to come from behind against the Yankees.
“That’s why you try to score by the seventh,” Hyde said “I thought Sisco on Ottavino was kind of our one shot, short right field porch and Ottavino’s numbers against right-handers, to take a chance there because I knew Britton and Chapman were going to be after him. Yeah, obviously they have an elite bullpen and that’s what really good teams have, and it’s tough to score on those guys.”
Orioles add another pitcher: The Orioles acquired right-handed pitcher Ryan Eades on waivers from the Minnesota Twins and optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
Eades, a second-round draft choice by the Twins in 2013, made his major league debut this season and pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in two appearances.
To make room for Eades on the 40-man roster, the Orioles designated right-handed pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis for assignment.
Yacabonis was 1-2 with a 6.80 ERA in 29 games this season. In parts of the last three seasons, he was 3-4 with a 5.75 ERA with the Orioles.