Baltimore Orioles: Royals Sink O’s and Ubaldo Jimenez


Aug 24, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) watches during batting practice before the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles were within an out of being out of the bottom of the 6th inning and holding onto a 3-1 lead over the Kansas City Royals. But seven runs later on seven consecutive hits and the O’s were sunk, perhaps scuttled for much of any chance of making the playoffs. The final score was 8-3.

It is almost ludicrous to be talking about playoffs with a team that is now 62-62 on the season. Wow. We have come to expect so much more.

Again, it is the story of being like the Karen Carpenter song of so many years ago … “so close, so close and yet so far.” Over and over this season it has been the failure of getting that third strike, that third out, or that runner at third that needs a critical hit to score … but it doesn’t happen. The moment passes, and soon the game is irretrievably lost.

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Through the first five innings, Ubaldo Jimenez was cruising along with decent effectiveness. The ball was moving, and he had given up just one run on six hits. But with two outs and a runner on third base, the floodgates totally blew open. Mike Moustakas drove a ball out of the park to tie the game, and the rout was on.

Suddenly the Orioles were on the run. Balls were flying between outfielders and throws were going in every direction — wildly across the infield, a relay over the fielder’s head, a ball thrown to the wrong base allowing an extra runner into scoring position. It looked like the Australian Little League team did earlier in the day.

Jimenez was allowed to stay in the game a batter or two too long … not that it would have made a difference. Brad Brach immediately allowed two base hits before getting the final out. And the Orioles never did get another runner on base for the rest of the game. So it was a total team effort in losing.

In fact, the Royals set down the final 16 Orioles to come to the plate. There really weren’t any balls hit terribly hard either. About the only offense came from Adam Jones on a two-run homer in the first inning and Steve Clevenger on a deep double — before getting himself erased on a baserunning blunder.

Orioles hitters proved again that there is never a pitch that they don’t like to swing at. They registered not even a single walk, had only a total of 99 pitches thrown to them in nine innings, and only had two runners in scoring position on a mere five hits.

The Orioles are #13 in the American League in bases on balls. They are #3 in hitting into ground ball double plays. And they rank dead last in total plate appearances; they simply get themselves out too quickly and do not let pitchers tire out and become hittable in clutch situations.

None of these criticisms are new. And we will have much more to say about the 2015 Birds. But at this point, it is difficult to not give up reasonable hopes for the season and begin to look forward to a new era beginning in 2016.

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