Monday: Orioles 3 Mariners 4
After the terrible 3-game set the O’s played with Oakland, they didn’t do much better in the first of 3 against Seattle. Arrieta only last 2 1/3 innings, his shortest start of his career, giving up 4 hits, 4 walks (2 of which came with the bases loaded to score runs), and 4 runs in the loss. His ERA is now close to 5.00 and he needs to get back to his stuff: command and consistency. Luckily, the bullpen was solid. Alfredo Simon may be the O’s new long man as he went 3 2/3 innings of 2-hit scoreless ball with 4 strikeouts. Pedro Viola, who was called up to replace Chris Tillman, pitched 1 2/3 inning of perfect ball with 2 strikeouts and Jim Johnson pitched the last out of the 8th inning, a strikeout of Olivo. Despite the great showing by the bullpen, Arrieta had already done the damage and the O’s could not get back into it.
Doug Fister started for Seattle and pitched a great game. He went 8 innings, 4 of which he retired the side in order. In the 3rd, Mark Reynolds hit a solo homer to make the score 2-1 at the time. In the 8th, the O’s struck again. Andino reached on an infield single. Felix Pie singled putting Andino on 3rd. Nick Markakis hit an RBI single with one out to make the score 4-2. After Wright came in to relieve Fister, Guerrero got to base safely on an error, which also allowed Pie to score making it 4-3. The Orioles had a chance to tie and take the lead with only 1 out and a man on first and second. Matt Wieters then grounded into a fielder’s choice, allowing Markakis to go to 3rd and him to reach 1st safely with 2 outs. However, Luke Scott grounded out to end the inning and the O’s offense for the night.
This came down to pitching. Arrieta seems to be struggling a bit as of late and the reason is very unclear to me. He knows he pitched terribly in this game and that Showalter has made is very clear by demoting both Tillman and Bergesen that he will not accept these kind of starts from the pitchers. Hopefully Arrieta will take this into consideration during his next start and get back to what he does best.
Tuesday: Orioles 2 Mariners 3
Another day, another loss. This was unfortunate because the O’s seemed to have this one in the bag. Guthrie pitched a compete game and 4 of the 8 innings were perfect. He gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, and struck out 9, but he unfortunately got the loss yet again.
Erik Bedard was on the mound for the Mariners, he’s the guy the Orioles traded for Adam Jones and Chris Tillman. The first run came in the 6th with Nick Markakis grounding into a double play that allowed Robert Andino to score from 3rd. In the next inning, Matt Wieters hit a solo shot to allow the O’s to go up 2-0. That was his 6th homer of the season and it’s been a while since he hit his last one so that was good to see. However, the 8th inning came along. Guthrie got the first 2 outs of the inning easily before making an error that allowed Ichiro Suzuki to get on base safely. Following that, he allowed Brendan Ryan to hit a 2-out single. Then with one pitch, the game completely turned around. Justin Smoak hit a home run, on a 0-1 count, to give the Mariners the 3-2 lead. That was the end of the game pretty much. The O’s were retired in order in the top of the 9th and that was it.
Wednesday: Orioles 2 Mariners 1
With Brian Matusz back on the mound, the Orioles were looking to take one away from the Mariners and avoid getting swept twice in a row. Pineda was on the mound for the Mariners, a young guy who has been and will continue to be talked about a lot. Matusz did very well. He pitched 5 2/3 innings giving up 4 hits and 1 run with no walks and 3 strikeouts on 84 pitches. Obviously, he was taken out early because it’s his first day back and no one wants him to overdo it too soon. Definitely a quality start and win-worthy but he unfortunately got the no decision. Getting away from the starter, the bullpen was yet again solid. I know there hasn’t been a whole lot of positive to focus on with this team recently, but the ‘pen really seems to be doing things right. Jim Johnson got the win going 1 1/3 innings giving up only one hit. Koji pitched a perfect inning with a strikeout as did Kevin Gregg with a strikeout who also recorded the save.
There really wasn’t much offense in this game at all. The Mariners scored their run with an RBI single by Wilson following a single by Olivo who got to 2nd on a fly out. As for the O’s, in the top of the 2nd, J.J. Hardy hit his 3rd homer of the season, his 2nd off of Pineda. The game was tied until the top of the 8th when Adam Jones hit his 7th homer of the season to get the 2-1 lead, which was all the team needed. He also went 3 for 4 in the game and had a homerun-saving catch in the 4th that gave a lot of confidence to Matusz.
Thankfully, the Orioles got out of their losing streak and hopefully Matusz is adding not only talent back to the team but also an emotional boost.
The Big Picture:
The O’s are now 25-29, still last in the AL East, but continue to slip further out of 1st at 6 games back. Still, that’s nothing compared to the Twins who are 16 games back in the AL Central or the Astros who are 11 games back in the NL Central, but the O’s are slipping and need to win the next few series to get back in it and back to .500.
Next, they take on the Blue Jays for the first time this season this weekend. Toronto is one game over .500 at 28-27 and 3.5 games back in the division so it would be good to not only secure some more wins for the O’s, but also take another team in the division further back.