The Baltimore Orioles called up prospect Luis Ortiz to make a spot start against Boston last night. While Ortiz has never made an appearance in an Orioles’ uniform, he had appeared in two other big league games – with Texas. However while he was able to get some early pitches by for strikes, it didn’t exactly turn out the way the Orioles would have hoped. Ortiz’s line: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 5 BB, 3 K.
The Orioles actually had a lead in this game. Trey Mancini smacked a solo homer in the first inning to give the Birds a 1-0 lead. However that was basically the highlight of the game for the O’s. While Ortiz was lifted when trailing 3-1 and the game not out of hand by any means, it went downhill from there.
The Orioles surrendered six home runs to Boston last night. When the smoke cleared, they trailed 13-1. Keon Broxton would add an RBI-single in the last of the ninth to cut the final to 13-2.
The O’s are surrendering home runs left and right. Now in fairness, Boston’s been hitting the ball out of the park at will the last few games. This was their second consecutive game in which they’ve hit five (or more) home runs. Boston hitters appear to be very zero’d in at the plate right now. And there was nothing that Oriole pitching was doing to calm the tide of homers.
Part of the issue with Oriole pitching right now is that pitchers either can’t stay healthy, or just can’t perform. The can’t perform part is especially tough to accept. That’s been going on for some time, going back to Ubaldo Jimenez. That was a signing that was lauded by most media analysts, myself included. The Orioles got him at a fair price and he was a solid starter.
But at the end of the day, he never measured up. Some would argue he did more harm than good. (I wouldn’t go that far, but some would. You also have to keep in mind that when the Orioles needed someone to step up in a big game, Jimenez usually rose to the occasion.) But obviously for whatever reason pitchers seem to come to Baltimore and suddenly not be able to find the strike zone. Or they get hurt – like Cashner and Cobb.
The issue last night in a sense was the nibbling. Oriole pitching all tried to nibble on the corners, and Boston hitters refuse to relent and swing at pitches out of the strike zone. Consequently, Oriole pitchers nary seemed to get the benefit of the doubt, as all of those borderline pitches were called as strikes.
Then ultimately with runners on base the Orioles were forced to throw strikes. And those strikes were hit. And a long way at that. The majority of those home runs were two-run shots.