Baltimore Orioles Starting Pitching Crumbles in Critical Series vs. Yankees

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Manager Buch Showalter
BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 05: Manager Buch Showalter /

The Baltimore Orioles versus the New York Yankees score ends with the Yankees easily defeating the Orioles 9-1 as they squander another chance to earn a huge victory at home in their fight for the MLB playoffs.

The starting pitching of the Baltimore Orioles is letting them down at the worst possible time and could torpedo their playoff chances as the team heads on a road trip.

The morning after the Manny Machado walk-off, even the angriest of Orioles fans had a reason for optimism. The team had just won thrillingly again, and the Orioles would have a day off Thurs. before heading northwest to play the best team in baseball right now, the Cleveland Indians.

The sad part is that ugly has been a common theme for Orioles starting pitching lately, forcing the bullpen to do some really heavy lifting.

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The Orioles have alternated wins and losses in their last eight games.

Their last win by a starting pitcher was the game before the current streak started, the Dylan Bundy masterpiece against the Seattle Mariners.

The next day, Ubaldo Jimenez, was, well, Ubaldo Jimenez. He allowed six runs on six hits in 2.2 innings and was gone.

Miguel Castro, Richard Bleier, Darren O’Day, Brad Brach and Zach Britton allowed one run over 6.1 innings, and the Orioles won 8-7.

The next game was the Kendrys Morales show, where Jeremy Hellickson left up seven runs on seven hits and four walks in 4.2 innings. The bullpen did not help, and the Orioles lost 11-8 to the Toronto Blue Jays.

The second game of the four game series was the first Orioles win in extra innings. Kevin Gausman pitched well, going six innings and striking out eight, with one walk and five hits allowed. The bullpen pitched seven great innings, and the Orioles won 1-0 on a walk-off double by Jonathan Schoop.

Game three saw Wade Miley turn in a quality start with two runs on four hits and two walks in six innings, and six strikeouts. However, it was not enough, as the Orioles lost 7-2.

The last game of the series was a Manny Machado walk-off victory in 12 innings. However, Chris Tillman only went four innings, allowing three runs on three hits and three walks. The bullpen did another yeoman’s effort, going eight innings allowing only one run on three hits.

Next, the New York Yankees came to town, and Dylan Bundy was back on the mound. The Yankees did not let him come close to the excellence from his last outing. Bundy went four innings, allowing five runs on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts. He also allowed two home runs, and the Orioles lost 7-4.

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Following that was another Manny marathon, with Machado delivering with a walk-off well after midnight in a rain-delayed game. In this start, Hellickson went 2.1 innings, allowed five runs (three earned) on two hits and four walks before he got the quick hook.

In the last game of the series, which is still on going, Kevin Gausman went just three innings allowing five earned runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts.

The starters in those games went 35.2 innings and allowed 33 runs. No wins in any of those games. Only two starts over five innings, both of which were quality starts.

Hellickson has been the worst offender, allowing 12 runs in 7 innings. Ubaldo Jimenez appears to be out of the rotation. Chris Tillman is ineffective at best, and terrible at worst.

The team has an offense that can cover some problems, but repeatedly terrible pitching cannot be overcome. It just can’t.

A good bullpen can help, especially when it is expanded like it is now. But the Orioles are averaging just over four innings a game in the last eight games from their starters.

That. Won’t. Work.

If the Orioles want to make a push for the final playoff spot in the American League Wild Card standings, they need to get five innings at least from their starters.

With Cleveland on the schedule list, even missing Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, the Orioles will likely get swept if they pitch the way they have over the last week plus.

A sweep would be bad news for a team fighting for a playoff spot.