The O’s started their 10 game home stand against the Minnesota Twins and recorded yet another loss, pulling their losing streak to 8 in a row. I don’t really want to get all statistic-y tonight. It’s not about that. It’s about the lack of clutch hitting and clutch pitching.
The Twins finished with 2 more hits than the O’s and just as many runs with a final score of 5-3. Tillman gets the loss and goes 0-2 while Liriano for the Twins gets his first win of the season (1-3) after some pretty terrible outings. To get the stats over with, Liriano went 6.1 innings giving up only 2 runs on 5 hits. Tillman went 6.2 (finally a decent length outing) giving up 3 runs on 6 hits.
Tillman did not pitch a loss. He shouldn’t have gotten the loss. 3 runs is not a bad outing at all. The problem has been the offense. This has been going on for quite a few games now: the starters pitch a mediocre/decent game, good enough for a win at least 50% of the time for other teams, but they get absolutely no run support.
This refers to lack of clutch hitting. Take, for instance, the bottom of the 1st. Brian Roberts was on third, Derrek Lee was on second with 2 outs and Mark Reynolds at the plate. What does he do? Strike out. I know he does this a lot but it hurts so bad when you have 2 runners in scoring position and a chance to get an early lead and some confidence back in the line-up. Bottom of the 5th, not as good of an opportunity comes up but Andino is on second and Roberts on first with 2 outs. Markakis grounds out to end the inning. If this was any sort of good offensive team, at least Reynolds or Markakis would have avoided an out if not got an RBI.
2 of the 3 home runs of the night came to Adam Jones and Matt Wieters in the 7th. The only other home run came in the 9th with Luke Scott pinch-hitting for Andino with 2 outs. If there were no outs, a come back could have happened. But no way with 1 out and DEFINITELY no way with 2 outs given the offense’s current problems.
But wait? Weren’t the O’s down 3-2? Wasn’t Luke Scott’s 9th inning home run a tying run?
Nope. I forgot to mention one little thing. Kevin Gregg gave up 2 runs in the 9th. No, I don’t think he is allowed to be called the closer. To be a closer, you have to close games. Not give up 2 runs and then close games. He failed yet again. And he really should get some advice from the Twins’ ex-closer Joe Nathan. He blew 2 saves already this season and told the Twins manager Ron Gardenhire to take him out of that position because he clearly sucks at it. So, Gardenhire put Matt Capps in that position. Yes, he did give up a home run to Scott, I know. But, he didn’t blow the save. So Kevin, would you mind talking to Buck about this and letting Koji get the job. He earned it last season. His command is brilliant.
One positive thing we can take out of this is that Clay Rapada pitched 1.1 innings with no hits no runs and 3 strikeouts. Hopefully, he can show some consistency in the bullpen in the future.
The only thing us fans can do anymore is say “Well, maybe we can win tomorrow night.” And with that I say: hoping for a win tomorrow night. Go O’s.