Observations from and analysis of the Orioles losing all three games at the Astros
Game 1: 6-1 loss on Monday night (April 2)
Game 2: 10-6 loss on Tuesday night (April 3)
Game 3: 3-2 loss on Wednesday afternoon (April 4)
1. There’s a saying in baseball: “You can’t win a pennant in April, but you can lose a pennant in April.” Every year in the majors we have at least one team that gets buried in April. Are the O’s this year’s team? They now are 1-5. Their run differential through games on Wednesday was a major-league-worst -20. The Orioles’ schedule to begin the season is brutal: three-game series against Minnesota, three-game series at Houston, four-game series at the Yankees, three-game series with Toronto, four-game series at Boston, three-game series at Detroit, four-game series against Cleveland. The O’s have one scheduled off-day between the second game of their season through April 29. The O’s famously went 0-21 to begin the 1988 season. That’s obviously not happening this year, but something like 5-19 to begin the season is not out of the question. This April schedule is merciless, and this Orioles team has looked terrible so far.
2. There is no bigger problem for the O’s right now than their offense. They have scored just 14 runs over six games. The O’s have a .580 OPS over six games. The O’s have struck out 62 times over six games. Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado and Adam Jones have combined for 20 hits. The rest of the Orioles have totaled 17 hits.
3. Dylan Bundy ended a string of four straight bad starts from the Orioles rotation with his work in the 3-2 loss on Wednesday afternoon: two runs (one earned) in six innings on eight strikeouts versus five hits (including four singles), two walks and a wild pitch. The O’s have gotten two good outing from starting pitchers over the first six games, and both of those outings have been courtesy of King Kong Bundy.
4. The first two outings from Orioles starting pitchers in this series left a lot to be desired.
Mike Wright Jr., who is hanging by a thread as the Orioles’ no. 5 starter given the signing of Alex Cobb (who is preparing for the season at Double-A Bowie) and given Wright’s struggles over the last three seasons, was not good but also not that bad in the 10-6 loss at the Astros on Tuesday night. He allowed three runs in five innings on six strikeouts versus four hits, a walk and a wild pitch. I actually expected worse. The big blow was a two-out two-run homer by Carlos Correa on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the first.
Chris Tillman is coming off an atrocious 2017 in which he had 7.84 ERA over 24 games, including 19 starts. Chris Tillman’s 2018 got off to a bad start in the 6-1 loss at the Astros on Monday night. He allowed four runs in four innings. He gave up seven hits, including a homer, a triple and two doubles. He issued four walks. He had a wild pitch. Tillman averaged 89.7 miles-per-hour on his four-seam fastball. He got swings-and-misses on just two of his 84 pitches. Good luck having a bounce-back season with that kind of stuff.
5. The Orioles’ bullpen did not come through in each of the final two games in this series.
Miguel Castro allowed a tie-breaking run in the bottom of the seventh of the 3-2 loss at the Astros on Wednesday afternoon. He issued a one-out walk of Derek Fisher and then a two-out RBI single to Alex Bregman, who battled from being down 0-2 in the count to then working a full count.
Mychal Givens, Pedro Araujo and Nestor Cortes Jr. combined to allow seven runs in three innings in the 10-6 loss at the Astros on Tuesday night. Givens gave up a two-run homer to Josh Reddick in the bottom of the sixth. Cortes gave up a two-out grand slam to Reddick in the bottom of the seventh.