In a season where the Baltimore Orioles have struggled seemingly against everyone, it seems that’s been especially true against Toronto. And that’s been the case for a couple of years – really, since 2015 in a sense. The Birds defeated Toronto in September of 2014 to win the AL East, but since then it’s really been downhill.
And the ironic part is that it doesn’t seem to matter who the personnel is on each side. Both rosters have undergone massive changes since 2014. Yet the results seem to be the same. It’s a bit uncanny.
The Orioles turned to the Tampa and Oakland methodology last night in terms of starting pitching. Evan Phillips got the start, but in reality he was used as an “opener.” Phillips’ line: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 2 K.
Phillips gave up an RBI-single to Tellez in the second which gave Toronto a 1-0 lead. Later in the inning Jansen smacked a two-run home run, and suddenly it was 3-0. Toronto also got solo homers from Pillar in the seventh, and Diaz in the ninth to round out their 5-0 victory over the Orioles, who only mustered three hits on the night. The Orioles are 4-13 this year against Toronto, with two games left to go (tonight and Wednesday).
The Orioles used the “opener” concept last night most probably out of necessity given the number of injuries in their starting rotation. When Tampa started the concept of the opener earlier this year, I thought it was nuts. I still think it’s nuts – and that’s not going to change.
You might ask why I think it’s a crazy idea. You might sit there and say, why not? It’s a valid question. And one I intend to tackle in the off season a bit. But for now, needless to say it’s a little too against the grain, outside-the-box, and against tradition for the ultimate sport steeped in tradition.
With the loss, the Orioles tied a club record for losses in a season at 107. That’s not the type of history you want to make, and after the game Buck Showalter was asked to wrap his head around that fact (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I’ve got too many things and people depending on me to do certain things between now and the end of the season. I think because it’s unpleasant to wrap around, probably I’m as guilty as anybody of staying tunnel vision about what we’re doing every day trying to do what’s best. So, if that’s an answer to your question.