Should the Baltimore Orioles take Dandy Don Meredith’s advice and turn out the lights, because the party’s over? Losers of eight of their last nine and averaging 2.4 runs a game in those eight losses, they are this morning nine games out of first, after last night’s loss together with wins by Toronto and New York.Courtesy of Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
The similarities to two years ago are interesting. In 2013, Chris Davis‘ 53 home run year, they struggled to do things right from a team perspective, very seldom getting the key hit with men on base and pitching to a 4.20 team ERA. Last season, Nelson Cruz lit it up in the first half, when the team struggled. Then Cruz and Davis went to sleep in the second half, in addition to Davis’ suspension wiping out September for him, but the club ran away with the division, pitching to a 3.43 ERA.
This season, good individual years have come back, with Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado, but starting pitching (3.86 team ERA thus far) and team baseball have been conspicuously absent from the party. They haven’t been more than six or seven games over .500 at any point and are two under going into Saturday’s play.
Last night, Norfolk phenom Dariel Alvarez finally got called up, got a chance to shine, and did, throwing a runner out at home from right field. Even though the arm proved a weapon, it was open to question why the Orioles sent Henry Urrutia back down in order to bring up Alvarez. Well, that’s what September call-ups are for.
But the offense slept through another one, only scoring one run, that on a bases loaded walk to Davis. Perhaps the good news was that he had the patience to walk with the bases loaded, recalling one of history’s most oft-repeated Earl Weaverisms.
The Rangers’ Cole Hamels was otherwise colossal, retiring 14 in a row at one point and combining with Shawn Tolleson to hold the Orioles to three hits. It led to an annoyingly familiar Buck Showalterism: tipping his cap to the other team.
The debate still doesn’t want to die over letting Cruz and Nick Markakis go, as both are hitting .300 or better and having solid years, but Seattle is 60-69, and Atlanta is 54-74 after losing to the Yankees last night. The Mariners today fired GM Jack Zduriencik, making Cruz the second Oriole to wind up in Seattle and result in the general manager’s firing.