Game 1: 15-7 loss on Tuesday night (May 8)
Game 2: 5-3 win on Wednesday night (May 9)
Game 3: 11-6 win on Thursday night (May 10)
1. This was just the Orioles’ third series win of the season and arguably the team’s best offensive series of the season. That’s not saying much given how bad the Orioles’ offense has been, but at least it showed a pulse.
The O’s hit seven homers over the three games. As I’ve said, when the O’s homer, they win. Chris Davis had a leadoff homer on a 1-2 pitch in the bottom of the second in the 15-7 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night and a two-out three run homer in the bottom of the fourth in the 5-3 win on Wednesday night. The top three batters in the Orioles’ lineup – Trey Mancini, Adam Jones and Manny Machado – went a combined 8-for-13 with three homers, two doubles, two walks and seven RBI in the 11-6 win on Thursday night.
Jonathan Schoop in the 15-7 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night returned from a 20-game absence caused by a right oblique strain. He had a two-run single on an 0-2 pitch in the Orioles’ four-run ninth in that game. Schoop then had a double and a single in the 5-3 win on Wednesday night and an RBI single in the 11-6 win on Thursday night.
Mark Trumbo had a tie-breaking two-out two-run single in the bottom of the eighth in the 5-3 win over the Royals on Wednesday night and a double, a single and a walk in the 11-6 win on Thursday night.
2. Buck Showalter has been the best thing to happen to the O’s this decade. I’ve been a huge fan of him for years. But that doesn’t mean that he’s some innocent little angel in the demise of this team. And nothing has been more mind-boggling than Buck’s inexplicable loyalty to Chris Tillman.
Tillman in the 11-6 win over the Royals on Thursday night was atrocious once again. He allowed six runs (five earned) in 1 1/3 innings. Four of the runs came in a top of the first in which he began the game by going single-walk-walk-grand slam. Tillman now has a 10.46 ERA over seven starts this season. He had a 7.84 ERA over 24 games, including 19 starts, last season. It’s not just that he has been horrendous. It’s that he has been allowed to make 26 starts since the start of last season. What sense does that make? How do you keep going to a guy who is this bad? I don’t care how good he was in previous years (and by the way, and this gets forgotten, but Tillman also was really bad in 2015). This is unfair to the rest of the team. This is unfair to the fans. And, honestly, this is unfair to Tillman.
And while the O’s continue to have an embarrasing lack of pitching prospects, I don’t buy the excuse that Buck doesn’t have any other viable options. Any option is better than Tillman at this point. How about doing what I have advocated for years – going bullpening? You “start” a reliever like, say, Miguel Castro, have him pitch for three or four innings, bring in another reliever, and so on and so forth. Get creative. Try something new. This absurd loyalty to Tillman has become a joke.
3. It is now time to panic regarding Dylan Bundy. He in the 15-7 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night got crushed for a third straight start, allowing seven runs without recording a single out. He gave up four homers, a single and two walks on just 28 pitches. Bundy in fact became the first pitcher in the Modern Era (that’s since 1900) to allow four home runs in a game without recording an out. The extent to which he has been awful lately can not be overstated.
Bundy now has allowed 19 earned runs over his last three starts off having allowed five earned runs over his first five starts. Bundy now has allowed nine home runs off having allowed one home run over his first five starts.
Bundy said after the game that he physically is fine. Boy is that scary if that’s the case.
4. Andrew Cashner in the 5-3 win over the Royals on Wednesday night was not all that good for a fifth consecutive start, though at least he gave the O’s a shot to win. Cashner allowed three runs in six innings, giving up a two-out two-run homer to Lucas Duda in the top of the fourth and a two-out RBI single to Duda in the top of the sixth.
5. The Orioles’ bullpen was abysmal in the 15-7 loss to the Royals on Tuesday night, as Mike Wright Jr. and Pedro Araujo combined to allow eight runs in seven innings. But Richard Bleier and Brad Brach combined for three scoreless innings in the 5-3 win on Wednesday night. And Miguel Castro, Tanner Scott and Mychal Givens combined for 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the 11-6 win on Thursday night. Scott was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday due to the O’s placing Darren O’Day on the 10-day disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow. O’Day has been hurt a bunch since re-signing with the O’s for four years and $31 million in Dec. 2015 and just hasn’t been that good.