Red Sox hand Orioles 9th straight loss; Watkins gives up 6 runs in 4 innings - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Red Sox hand Orioles 9th straight loss; Watkins gives up 6 runs in 4 innings

Photo credit: Gregory Fisher: USA Today Sports

BOSTON—The Orioles won 10 times in 16 games to begin the second half of the season. Since then, things have gone steadily south. Playing the top two teams in the American League East isn’t likely to change that.

On Friday night in Boston, they were no match for the Red Sox. Pitcher Spenser Watkins, who got off to a good start in the major leagues, gave up six runs in four innings and lost his fourth straight as the Orioles dropped their ninth game in a row, 8-1 to the Red Sox before an announced crowd of 28,022 at Fenway Park.

It was the start of a seven-game road trip to Boston and Tampa Bay for the Orioles (38-76). And it began poorly after centerfielder Cedric Mullins singled sharply to right and reached second with no outs on an errant throw to first by Boston starter Nick Pivetta. Mullins didn’t score.

After going 0-for-23 with runners in scoring position in their three losses to Detroit at home, the Orioles were hitless in five attempts against the Red Sox to extend the streak for 0-for-28. Only shortstop Richie Martin’s home run in the third, which tucked inside the right-field foul pole and traveled 320 feet,  prevented a shutout.

The nine consecutive losses represent the Orioles’ second-longest losing streak of the season. They dropped 14 in a row from May 18th-31st, equaling the second longest in team history.

“We’re playing better teams,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ve got to be able to match the intensity of a team in a pennant race. We’ve given away some games.

“We gave away a couple of games against Tampa. We gave away a game against New York. We didn’t play real well against Detroit. Now, we’re playing Boston at Fenway. They added at the [trading] deadline, and they’re trying to get to the postseason. We have to be able to play relaxed and with nothing to lose. Tonight, we just got beat.”

After Mullins began the game with a single that ran his hitting streak to 20 games (longest by an Oriole since Adam Jones hit in 20 in a row in 2012) and moved to second on Pivetta’s throwing error, Anthony Santander struck out. Trey Mancini, who doesn’t have an RBI since July 28th, grounded out, as Mullins took third. DJ Stewart walked, and Austin Hays popped to short.

They didn’t have another scoring chance until Hays was caught looking by Pivetta with Santander on second and two outs in the sixth. In the bottom of the ninth, Martin struck out with Jorge Mateo on second and Pedro Severino on third with two outs.

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“It was a combination of Pivetta and a lot of chases out of the zone,” Hyde said. “We’re mostly right-handed, which doesn’t help, either, against a guy like that.

“We didn’t square many balls up. We didn’t put any pressure on him, really.”

The Red Sox (67-51) scored four times against Watkins in the second. Hunter Renfroe singled and, in his first at-bat with Boston, Kyle Schwarber walked before Kevin Plawecki singled to load the bases.

A single by Jarren Duran scored Renfroe, and a double by Bobby Dalbec brought in Schwarber and Plawecki. A sacrifice fly by Kiké Hernández’ scored Duran.

Martin’s homer to lead off the third, which dropped inside the Pesky Pole, was his first home run since September 28, 2019, which he also hit at Fenway. Stewart nearly had his third home run in two days, but Renfroe made a leaping catch before it could land in the Orioles’ bullpen in right for the first out of the fourth.

Watkins (2-4) gave up an RBI double to Duran in the third and Xander Bogaerts’ 18th homer in the fourth.

“I wouldn’t even say it was the lineup,” Watkins said. “I thought it was more so battling myself. I was battling my sweating and trying to find a grip on the ball. I need to do a better job of overcoming and executing. The lineup is 1 through 9, just like any other lineup is. It’s just sticking to my guns and continuing to attack, and not allowing something like sweat to creep in and get me off my focus.”

Watkins has started in Baltimore three times and at Tampa Bay and Detroit, but Fenway is different.

“Same as any other place but, of course, Fenway is Fenway, and any baseball player can go into that field and be a little bit wide-eyed,” Watkins said. “I felt like it was more so me just staying focused mentally.

“Was there crowd noise? Absolutely, but there’s crowd noise everywhere. I think it’s just a matter of me staying focused.”

He allowed six runs on seven hits in four innings, throwing more balls than strikes, 44-43.

“I thought he was behind in the count almost the entire outing,” Hyde said. “It’s tough to pitch behind in the count to this lineup.”

Dalbec’s 12th home run against Dusten Knight in the sixth, and Renfroe’s 20th off César Valdez in the seventh gave Boston an 8-1 lead.

Pivetta (9-5) is 6-0 against the Orioles with a 2.95 ERA.

Garrett Richards pitched three scoreless innings for his first save.

“Anytime you run into a skid, it’s tough,” Watkins said. “We have a good group of guys. We have a good core of veterans that keep the emotions in check and keep the guys on the right path and always looking forward.

“You can’t change what’s happened. You can’t change the losses, so we have a good group of guys that are pushing us to stay forward as well as our staff. It is what it is. It sucks, of course, but we’ve got the right group to go forward.”

Notes: Hays’ 10-game hitting streak ended. … Santander played left field for the first time this season. … Jorge López (3-12, 5.75 ERA) will faces Chris Sale, who’s returning from Tommy John surgery, on Saturday at 4:10 p.m.

Minor League update: Third baseman Rylan Bannon continued his hot hitting with two home runs as Triple-A Norfolk beat Memphis, 7-4. Bannon has five home runs in the last three games.

First baseman Tyler Nevin had two RBIs, and Thomas Eshelman and Isaac Mattson combined for four scoreless innings in relief, allowing just one hit. Mattson picked up his second save.

Double-A Bowie’s game with Richmond was postponed and will be made up with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 5:05 p.m.

Centerfielder Hudson Haskin’s 10th-inning single lifted High-A Aberdeen over Asheville, 5-4.

Designated hitter J.D. Mundy and first baseman Andrew Daschbach each drove in two runs. Daschbach hit a two-run homer, his eighth.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    August 14, 2021 at 7:46 am

    Norfolk seems to be playing better of late, maybe some new energy, hmmm, not sure I’d say the O’s have a good core of veterans, Mancini, kinda, new at being a vet, some of their ages would suggest vets, but not so, every team targets O’s as a place to be back by, RedSucks first starts for Renfroe & Schwarber, Sale makes his first start of the season tonight, oh well…go O’s…

  2. Icterus fan

    August 14, 2021 at 8:21 am

    Nothing new to report here, but this is just really, really hard to watch. We are not competitive on any level and our batting and pitching statistics just makes us non competitive from the start.
    Hopefully we see some minor leaguers soon, since it’s just an audition at this point. The remaining schedule is not favorable, obviously.
    It’s embarrassing to be MLB’s punching bag, but hey, change is a comin’!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      August 14, 2021 at 8:27 am

      It’s a process afterall.

    • Icterus fan

      August 14, 2021 at 9:51 am

      I hear ya, Boog. Tongue planted firmly in cheek, eh?

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 14, 2021 at 8:26 am

    We may catch the Diamondbacks yet! We’re only 1 game ahead in the win column.

  4. Orial

    August 14, 2021 at 8:30 am

    Ever since that bullpen “fiasco” last weekend we’ve been watching some truly uninspiring baseball lately. Mancini looks shot(needs a 10 day mental IL rest),Franco looks totally uninterested,Martin/Mateo–though I like the energetic infusion at the DP combo are still searching,DJ is probably fooling us again,McKenna is NOT heeding the opportunity and “my boy” Hays seems unable to take that next step. Damn Hays frustrates me. I guess in analysis the offense this season has underachieved and the pitching that we knew was weak, is both underachieving and poorly developed(yeah I’m looking at you Elias,Holt,Hyde). Is it me or other than Bogaerts,Devers,and maybe Verdugo that Boston lineup is kinda ordinary. But hey they are the Red Sox.

    • Icterus fan

      August 14, 2021 at 10:00 am

      Orial, I agree about Franco in particular. He’s always looked smug, detached and borderline disinterested out there. Good arm but erratic glove it seems. Booting routine stuff, then snaring 100 mph hot shots.
      Regarding the Red Sox lineup, their first baseman Dalbec I think is a keeper. Looks like a good kid that should develop into legit player.

      • Buzz1979

        August 14, 2021 at 10:34 am

        Crap hitter, like a lot of players, only good against the Orioles. He is right at the Mendoza/Flaherty line!

    • CalsPals

      August 14, 2021 at 10:55 am

      Another guy to add to Lightyear’s list of favorite players…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      August 14, 2021 at 11:25 am

      Hi Buzz. I always appreciate reading your thoroughly researched and articulately scripted assessments of players. I saw Dalbec’s minor league success and sort of figured his success there would eventually translate into MLB success. Maybe that’s why the Bosox continue to play him?
      In 4 minor league seasons he hit 79 home runs and had 256 RBI.
      In 2021 he’s played in 90 games at first base handling 647 chances with a .988 fielding percentage for the Sawx.

  5. Orioles20

    August 14, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Well it was fun while it lasted for Watkins. I guess it’s time to move on to the next guy. The pitching in Norfolk has been a lot better since Adley got there. Coincidence I think not. Even Kremer had a good outing with him behind the plate. Even if we don’t bring him up right out of the gate next year we need a new catcher. Severino is second time arbitration and he doesn’t deserve what raise he’d get.

  6. OhMy!

    August 14, 2021 at 9:18 am

    Okay, so last week, pre-Rutschman, Tides played 7 games against Jacksonville and allowed 23 runs.
    This week with Rutschman behind the plate, they allowed 9 runs in 3 games against Memphis.
    Jacksonville is a slightly better offensive team.

  7. EkimC

    August 14, 2021 at 9:33 am

    OK… so I question Bannon’s almost non existing batting average and production as a comment on Todd’s Minors Monday piece and all of a sudden he awakes (5 homers in 3 games…) Maybe I should call out some others the same way (Diaz for one) and see if it helps… just saying…

    • Buzz1979

      August 14, 2021 at 10:43 am

      May be time to pull the plug on the Watkins experiment. No need to mention Ethelman in the minor league report, his ML days are OVER!

    • BarstoolSleeper

      August 14, 2021 at 11:09 am

      You can’t pull the plug on a guy with 8 MLB starts and 36 innings pitched during a year where you have to see what you have in the organization. If you kept pulling the plug on guys after bad starts you’d need 40 starters per season with that mindset. Keep throwing Watkins out there and see what he’s got this year and in the future if anything. This is the year to learn at the major league level. In case you didn’t notice Mr. lightyear, the Os are 30 games out of it. There’s no harm in seeing what these guys can give you at this point.

  8. willmiranda

    August 14, 2021 at 10:40 am

    Hyde had some interesting comments. I don’t think the O’s give away games; they’re just not good enough to win them. And the
    manager speaks of Boston’s adding players via trades and being motivated by vying for a playoff spot as if those activities were cheating or at least something forbidden to the O’s. Well, I guess they aren’t part of The Plan, but that’s a self-inflicted ban. No mention of it, but Mountcastle’s absence is not helping those RISP; he’s a good RBI man.

    • CalsPals

      August 14, 2021 at 10:56 am

      Well said will…go O’s…

  9. NormOs

    August 14, 2021 at 11:13 am

    First, we don’t have to be reminded, there is NO pitching and after Mullins, Hays, Mancini, Santander, and Mountcastle, there is no hitting. So IMHO we have exactly 5 people in the “REBUILD” after 3 years. I’d say that’s not good. I just don’t believe a team made up of, basically, the infamous Waiver Wire (untradeables) works, at least, with the O’s. Rich, please don’t defend this catastrophe, there is no defense for incompetence. Elias has really made a mess and the only way to correct it is for The O’s to admit they made a huge mistake and get rid of this bum. I know a lot of guys won’t agree with me but he has made no progress. It seems Adley may have to play 4 or 5 positions all at the same time, or else he’ll need Major League help which simply means The Top 50 Free Agents are finally in the mix or else the losing continues. End of rant!

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 14, 2021 at 11:38 am

      Norm, I’m not defending it. I’m explaining the moves. There is a large difference.

      • willmiranda

        August 14, 2021 at 12:27 pm

        Rich, I know you don’t need defending, but we all depend on the objectivity of your reporting. It’s the
        factual foundation for all of our own reasoning and ranting. And, clearly, you do know the difference
        between exposition and argumentation. And, no, I’m not your mother.

        • Rich Dubroff

          August 14, 2021 at 1:30 pm

          Always great to read your reasoning, Will. Many thanks!

    • Birdman

      August 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm

      Norm … I think your chronology is a little off. Although you blame Elias for creating the Orioles “mess”, do you recall that Elias inherited a team that had just lost 115 games, one of the worst records in major league history?

      • NormOs

        August 14, 2021 at 3:50 pm

        And he hasn’t done doodly to correct it. This team is made up of WAIVER WIRE REJECTS and do you really think it will get any better next year or the year after? There is no money being spent and if people think that a rebuild can be done without spending MONEY on MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS then they are dreaming. BTW, they are on pace to lose at least 115 games. It’s 4pm so I’m ready for my daily colonoscopy. It’s still my team.

        • Birdman

          August 14, 2021 at 4:46 pm

          I fully agree with you about the Orioles absurdly low payroll – it’s something I’ve been griping about for the last couple of years … but that’s on ownership, not Elias.

  10. G-man

    August 14, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    I think Elias’ rebuild is good sound plan, but its going to take another four to five years to reap the benefits. If somebody needs to be called out on this forum, its Duquette. Its been three years since the ‘great Oriole selloff’ and from all the players acquired from 2018, only Dillon Tate is on the active roster. That’s horrible.

    • Birdman

      August 14, 2021 at 4:52 pm

      I’ve generally been an Elias defender, but your timetable of another 4-5 years to become competitive is not tenable … the Orioles haven’t had a winning season since 2016, if it takes another 4-5 years, there will no fans left at OPACY, and the team will probably be on its way out of Baltimore.

    • dlgruber1

      August 14, 2021 at 5:12 pm

      In the 5 previous seasons before Dan Duquette arrived, the O’s highest win total was 70. To be precise it was 70, 69, 68, 64 and 66. They hadn’t been to the playoffs since 1997. During his tenure they made the playoffs 3 times including in his 2nd season. I know McPhail had drafted many players he inherited and I’m not saying this to defend or praise him, but the bottom line is the only success we’ve experienced as O’s fans in the last 24 years was under his reign. Obviously I want Elias to succeed but I’m not convinced it’ll happen with only minor leaguers and waiver wire players. The ownership needs to infuse some money to help out along the way. If O’s fans think they’re gonna start contending again once AR, GR, Hall, Henderson, and even Kjerstad etc. arrive in Baltimore I think you’ll be disappointed. I’d love to be proven wrong but the only team I’ve seen come close to doing that was the Cubs, who did win a WS, but look at them now. I simply think those days are gone in MLB now.

    • WorldlyView

      August 14, 2021 at 5:24 pm

      G-man’s eight year scenario (five plus three) seems doable, but anything taking that long is hardly a “good sound plan.” Even this depressing scenario may be too rosy if declining attendance causes ownership to continue minimizing the player payroll. It is pointless to try to apportion blame on Duquette and Eilias. The team’s talent level screams last place and 100-plus losses for at least a couple more years. Might be even longer if our current crop of top prospects go free agent as soon as they’re eligible. The sorry state of the O’s is typified by the three pitchers used in yesterday’s loss to the Bosox. They were, I believe, all signed as unemployed, career minor leaguers; saves money, loses games.

      • Rich Dubroff

        August 14, 2021 at 8:24 pm

        Steve, everyone is signing those kind of pitchers. The Orioles let Shaun Anderson, Conner Greene and Evan Phillips go last week. Anderson was claimed by the Padres, Greene by the Dodgers, and Phillips signed with the Rays–all excellent teams. Y

        You keep harping on this theory. If the prospects the Orioles had did better, the team would do better. If Akin and Kremer pitched better, if Sisco had hit better, then the team would be better. Because of last year’s shortened season, everyone is using those players as the final five players on the club.

        Asher Wojciechowski, who was let go by the Orioles last year, started a game for the Yankees, who have plenty of money.

        Focus on the shortcomings of the players who are supposed to be better, not the final five players on the roster just because you’re convinced they’re going the cheap route.

        • WorldlyView

          August 14, 2021 at 11:18 pm

          Rich, Correct me if I am wrong, but the O’s are infinitely more dependent on castoffs (players acquired without giving up players in return) to fill out their roster than other teams, especially the four you mentioned. Castoffs constitute more than half of the Orioles current pitching staff. The Padres immediately sent Anderson to the minors. The otherwise inexplicable signing of Greene by the Dodgers might be explained by the fact that they have fourteen (14) pitchers on IL. I wouldn’t count on his staying on the team when one of these pitchers is activated. I cannot resist noting that a different batch of castoff pitchers surrendered 15 runs this afternoon. I’m sorry but I have no idea which of our active players/prospects were supposed to be better than they have been, nor do I know how such calculations are made. Also, I’m sorry if my “harping” annoyed you.

    • Icterus fan

      August 14, 2021 at 5:43 pm

      It’s definitely low ebb, boys. All this discussion/venting/grousing and critical thinking may be cathartic on some level, but unfortunately it ain’t changin’ anything.

      It’s still survival of the richest. Stiff upper lip.

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 15, 2021 at 7:56 am

      Steve, you are correct that the Orioles have more players acquired on waivers, seven on their 40-man roster than any other team. Two other teams with bad records, Pittsburgh and Arizona each have six.

      However, the number of homegrown players on the 40-man is 14, which is about average.

      Of the 14 pitchers currently on the staff, Means, Akin and Scott were homegrown.

      Tate, Fry and Plutko were acquired in trades.

      Lopez, Sulser and Diplan were acquired on
      waivers.

      Harvey, Valdez, Watkins and Knight were signed as free agents.

      Wells was a Rule 5 pick.

      • WorldlyView

        August 15, 2021 at 8:35 am

        Rich, I await instructions on how to identify and “focus on the shortcomings of the players who are supposed to be better” and how to measure how much “better” they should have performed over what they did perform. I hope you have accepted my apology for foolishly and inaccurately “harping” on whatever you were offended by. Was it my opinion that O’s mgt./ownership has been going what you called “the cheap route”?
        PS, I personally don’t care how many Orioles pitchers were homegrown. I think the overall quality of the pitching staff has been and is somewhere between deplorable and embarrassing.
        PPS. We acquired Plutko with cash, presumably above the waiver fee, but not traded for.

    • CalsPals

      August 15, 2021 at 8:02 am

      Well said WV…throwing stuff against the wall & seeing if something sticks…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      August 15, 2021 at 10:03 am

      Steve, the Orioles were counting on better performances this year from Akin, Kremer, Lowther, and Alexander Wells. They haven’t delivered.

      All of them were cultivated as top prospects for several years. They’ve spent considerable time and money on each of them.

      If even Akin and Kremer had been better, you would not have seen this parade of replacements, none of whom they’ve spent much time and money.

      It’s much more worrisome when top prospects don’t perform well than when waiver claims or minor league free agents underperform.

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