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Recapping Baltimore’s three-game loss against NY in the Bronx.

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) reacts after allowing a run in the third inning of the Orioles 9-3 loss for a three-game sweep to the New York Yankees in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, July 23, 2015.  (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (31) reacts after allowing a run in the third inning of the Orioles 9-3 loss for a three-game sweep to the New York Yankees in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium in New York, Thursday, July 23, 2015. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Game 1: 3-2 loss on Tuesday night (July 21)

Game 2: 4-3 loss on Wednesday night (July 22)

Game 3: 9-3 loss on Thursday afternoon (July 23)

What I liked:

1. Reason not to panic – If you’re searching for a silver lining, here’s one: the O’s aren’t as bad as their 46-48 record suggests.  Their +36 run differential projects to an expected record of 51-43.  A problem?  The O’s are just 12-16 in one-run games, which have been proven to be a function of luck more than anything.  It’s not unreasonable to think the luck will turn and the overall record will start to reflect the actual performance.  Unlike what Bill Parcells famously said, you’re not always what your record says you are.

2. The bullpen – Orioles relievers combined to allow just two runs in 9 1/3 innings.  Both runs came off Bud Norris in two innings in Game 3, boosting his ERA to 6.79.

 

What I didn’t like:

1. The potential implications – The O’s, who entered this series four games behind the Yankees for first in the American League East, now are seven games back.  They’re 5-14 since their 18-5 surge.  Are they done?  No.  But the division is far less compressed than it was just a week ago, and given their many pending free agents, a disastrous series like this one could prove the difference between the O’s being buyers vs. sellers come the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

2. The offense – The O’s batted just .172 (16-for-93) and totaled just six walks.  The O’s blasted five homers over the final two games, including two solo shots from Chris Davis, who also had a double in Game 3.  But otherwise, not much offensively.

3. The starting pitching – Not each start was equally bad, but the bottom line is that Orioles starters largely struggled in the biggest series of the season so far.

Ubaldo Jimenez allowed seven runs in 2 1/3 innings in Game 3, giving up eight hits and three walks.  His two worst starts of the season have come over his last two starts.  The O’s are in a lot of trouble if his bounce-back season has gone south.

Kevin Gausman, recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday afternoon, allowed four runs in six innings in Game 2, giving up two homers.

Wei-Yin Chen allowed more than two earned runs for the first time in eight starts, giving up three runs in 6 1/3 innings on 10 hits in Game 1.

4. Steve Pearce being out – The O’s placed him on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a left oblique strain, retroactive to July 19.  Pearce hasn’t been anywhere close to the stud he was last season, when he stunningly led the O’s with 5.9 bWAR.  He has registered a -0.2 bWAR so far this year, including having seen his OPS+ drop from 159 to 88.

5. Another offseason failure – The O’s did very little last offseason.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  But it is if the little you did fails.  Delmon Young, the Orioles’ lone major re-signing, was released on July 9.  And the O’s on Wednesday released their lone significant free-agent acquisition, reliever Wesley Wright, whom they had designated for assignment on July 15.  The O’s signed him to a one-year, reported $1.7 million contract in December.  But he pitched in just two games, having been placed on the 15-day D.L. in April with a left trapezius strain.

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