Last night’s loss to the Oakland Athletics was understandable; however, it was inexcusable. With the Orioles in Wild Card contention, they gave away a game that should have won.
We all know by now that the Orioles lost to the Athletics 14-9, despite two comebacks against perhaps the hottest team in baseball; alas, close Jim Johnson gave up six runs in the top of the ninth. Oakland just got single-after-single off of Johnson and led to the Baltimore loss.
I was a little galling to see that happen in person with him, but Johnson is one of the better relievers in baseball. He’s one of the crucial reasons why the Orioles are where they are in late July. However, the Orioles had this game in hand, and this loss could be a critical one. Then again, Johnson has been struglling a bit since the All-Star Game, especially within the last two or so weeks.
They have the A’s for two more games, then the Yankees, followed by the Rays. If the Orioles falter during the next week and a half, they could be done in terms of their playoff hunt. They are 52-48 and have hung around in the race much longer than anyone anticipated. They are 2 1/2 games behind the Wild Card leaders the Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. It seems like when a lot of people believe the Orioles are dead, they find a way to stay alive. Like I said, the next week-and-half will tell us a lot about them.
The bottom line is that they need to win games they should. They were 41-0 when leading after eight innings heading into Friday; however, while events like last night do happen, the Orioles must finish off their opponents.
The offense has come alive of late, and both Adam Jones and Chris Davis homered. They scored four times in the fifth and three more in the eighth using good at-bats plus being patient at the plate.
Starting pitcher Zach Britton had a rough outing, where he gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings. The first two frames were pretty bad, as he gave up five runs combined; however, he settled in and stopped the bleeding. Britton gave his team a chance to comeback, and they did.
As the trade deadline is coming to a close, the Los Angeles Angels got Zack Grienke, one of Baltimore’s targets. He was traded by the Milwaukee Brewers for three prospects, including highly touted Jean Segura. The Angels are going all in to compete, and got Greinke basically as a rental, although they could sign him to a long term deal.
Where does that leave the Orioles, who are still in the wild card hunt?
Right now, we are seeing it is a seller’s market and the Orioles may be stuck with second/third tier guys. They just don’t have enough to get a big arm or bat for their roster. The Orioles have quite a bit of flaws, and are still in the playoff hunt; however, they should not mortgage their future and make a trade for the sake of doing so.