Another Saturday Lashing Orioles lose 8-to-0
Written by Mike Laws
Another Saturday lashing
Rays rough up Gausman early, add five-run fifth
Orioles 0, Tampa Bay 8
Is Saturday at 4 p.m. the new Sunday at 1?
OK, to be fair, I haven’t done any research whatsoever into how the Birds are performing on weekends in 2013 — I’m basing this solely on however far back my memory now goes, which is to say: only about a week — but the last two Saturday depress-a-thons have shared certain features more characteristic of the previous decade’s Day of Rest incompetence.
In fact, last Saturday and this were remarkably similar in several key facets, none of them encouraging for the O’s: You had the fact of a blowout, first and foremost, coming by way of a huge middle inning for the opposition — the five-run fifth, in this one, versus last week’s (ugh) eight-run fourth — with both lopsided affairs featuring a failed effort to stanch the bleeding from mop-up man T.J. McFarland. The only real difference was that today’s thrashing didn’t involve a home run — which, of course, is small consolation indeed, and didn’t make this one any more pleasant to endure, from a spectator’s perspective.
So let’s get this over with. The bullet points:
- We were all wondering how Kevin Gausman would back up that magnificent last start. The answer is disheartening. Reverting to the form of his first two outings, the kid provided the same storyline: A couple innings of out-and-out untouchability bookended by a couple thoroughly pedestrian frames. The right-hander surrendered a quick double/single combination, in the first (courtesy of Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, respectively), but fanned both Kelly Johnson and James Loney, both on splendid fading changeups, to limit the damage to one. He wouldn’t escape so easily in the second, when Luke Scott drew a one-out walk and Jose Lobaton, Yunel Escobar and, eventually, Zobrist all delivered singles, good for two additional tallies. Even so, Gausman still had the strikeout stuff working — again he’d fan a pair of Tampa batsmen, intermingled with all those singles — and his third and fourth innings of work validated as much; again he’d fan a pair in the third, and in the fourth he worked around a two-out Escobar knock to retire the side in short order.
- Meanwhile, the Oriole lineup had done next to nothing to put up some runs of their own — they’d mounted something of a threat in the first on the strength of a pair of singles (Manny Machado, Adam Jones) before going down in order in the second, third and fourth — and in the fifth squandered what was to be their last, best chance at getting back into the ballgame. Matt Wieters started things off with an extended at-bat, fouling off four Jeremy Hellickson offerings before sweeping the eighth pitch he saw into right. J.J. Hardy followed suit with a 2-0 liner into left, and it looked like we were in business. But then Chris Dickerson struck out on an elevated Hellickson changeup with the count full; Ryan Flaherty nearly grounded into a 3-6-1 twin-killing (with Hellickson increasing his own workload after failing to find the bag at first); and Nate McLouth couldn’t deliver in the clutch, skying a can-o’-corn out to left …
- After which the Tampa bats, if they were ever truly asleep in the first place, woke right back up. Zobrist drilled a double over Jones’s head in left-center. Kelly Johnson tagged a ball right at Jones, advancing Zobrist a bag. Evan Longoria walked. Loney singled, plating Zobrist. Desmond Jennings walked. At this point, down four-love, exit Gausman and enter McFarland — anyone else get the howling fantods, here, remembering the last time the lefty came on on a Saturday with the bases loaded to try to hold the opposition to just the four runs? Well, get ready to relive it. Scott fell to 0-2 before turning on McFarland’s fourth delivery of the at-bat, sending a triple (or, if you like, a double on which he’d advance on the throw home) down the right-field line and into the corner, converting all three Rays runners. As if that weren’t enough, Lobaton smashed the very next pitch into the gap in left-center, picking up Scott, too. And just like that, the Birds were on the wrong side of a savage 8-0 beating.
- Because, for as well as the team’s rallied to claw its way out of some huge holes so far this year, it just wasn’t in the cards today. The Orioles went down in order against Hellickson once more, in the sixth, then repeated the limpid effort against a new Tampa hurler for each frame all the way till the end: one-two-three against Alex Torres in the seventh, one-two-three against Jamey Wright in the eighth, one-two-three to Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth. Save it up for tomorrow, I guess. Sunday’s starting to look a whole lot friendlier anyways.
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