Baltimore Orioles: Totally Overpowered by a Kid Pitcher


Jun 3, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Ryan Flaherty (3) falls on top of Houston Astros right fielder George Springer (4) after throwing to first to complete a double play during the first inning at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The losing streak for the Baltimore Orioles has now reached five games … not that I’m counting!

Honestly, the O’s have simply lost a lot of games through missed opportunities and execution, etc. There has been some decent pitching being thrown against them, without doubt. But on Wednesday night in Houston, they were simply beaten … shut down by a 21-year-old making his fourth career start.

For weeks, the Orioles have simply been a lousy hitting team. I am not saying this to create any effect, I’m simply telling the truth. They are playing poorly. But it would not have mattered on this night against young hurler Lance McCullers. His stuff was totally nasty, and he pitched perhaps the best game thrown against the Birds all season. Another by Michael Pineda is the only performance that comes to mind that in any way matched what the Astros’ kid did against the O’s

I’m not alone in that evaluation, Jim Palmer said on the telecast, “I’m not sure you can pitch any better than he has tonight.”

McCullers had one of the best curve balls you will ever see. The sharpness of the break was quite amazing, along with his control that would drop the ball in on the corners at the knees, over and over. Then throw in some fastballs at 96 and 97 mph.  This kid is the real deal. I HATE seeing the Orioles lose, but I can respect and admire a pitcher performance such as they faced last night.

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For the evening, McCullers finished with one run on four hits (a triple by Adam Jones and RBI single by Delmon Young accounting for the lone score), while striking out 11 and walking none during his efficient 107-pitch outing.

If the name sounds familiar, it is because his father (same name) pitched seven years mostly as a reliever, and mostly for the San Diego Padres.  His career record was 28-31 with a 3.25 ERA.

The Orioles did help McCullers in the same way they help too many pitchers – by failing to work counts, and rather, putting the bat on the first pitch they can reach. The O’s made six outs on the evening by hitting the first pitch, and they also were 1-for-5 when swinging at 1-0 and 2-0 pitches. A team can do this when they are hitting well as a group. But right now, this just gets the opposing pitcher quickly back into his dugout and allows him a shot at a complete game!

The final game of the season against Houston comes off today. There is a lot about this Astros outfit that would remind one of the 2012 Orioles, especially the team power. Maybe the Orioles will see them in AL playoffs later this year!

Next: The Orioles face frustration at every turn