Crushed by the Astros; The Ripkens

Last night, the Orioles simply got crushed.

To play with the big boys and the contenders, the Orioles cannot lose to a team like the Astros. Well, they lost 11-0 at the Yard on Wednesday, as a bad outing by Miguel Gonzalez, a huge error by J.J. Hardy in the fourth, plus a lack of offense doomed the Orioles.

It’s only one game and they can take the series against the Astros tonight; however, it was just not good on Wednesday. Then again, with the Cleveland Indians winning last night, they now hold the second wild card spot in the American League East. There’s still plenty of baseball to play, but I’ve said this all week – you have to beat the teams you need to beat.

The Houston Astros are in that category.

The Orioles are now 59-49, which is a solid record, but even now every game is a must win. They are now 5 ½ games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League East, and trail the second place Tampa Bay Rays by 5.

With the Indians, Yankees, and yes, the Royals within 4 ½ games of a wild card spot, the Orioles are probably going to be in a fight to play in October.

When you make Houston starting pitcher Brett Oberholtzer look like a Cy Young candidate, it is not going to be your night no matter what you do.

The Astros came ready to play and made very short work of Oriole pitching. Jason Castro had one hell of a night with a grand slam homer in the fourth inning that pretty assured Baltimore off a loss and two doubles.

Bud Norris will make his debut in the black and the orange tonight against Houston – his former team.

Also, Manny Machado and Chris Davis are scuffling at the plate, which is not a good thing. Both men seemed to be headed towards career years in the first half and were the talk of baseball. Now they are struggling badly at the plate, and Davis has struck out at least once in the past 24 games.

While the rest of the offense will do their part to pick both Davis and Machado up, let’s hope the two can figure it at out the plate.

They will be no doubt needed down the stretch.

After the Houston series, they have the Seattle Mariners in town and head out west to face the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The first two teams are mired in the second division well below .500; meanwhile, the Diamondbacks are tussling with the surging Los Angeles Dodgers (ahead by 2.5 games as of today) in the National League West.

The Orioles are in control of their destiny; however, they just need to beat who they should beat.

Finally, I forgot all about this story about the Ripken family. In 2012, Vi Ripken – the mother of Cal and Bill – was kidnapped, and while she was found a day later, the person responsible was never caught.

That I cannot believe.

Today, Cal was all over the local broadcasts and let the public know that there’s a $100,000 reward available for information that helps lead to the capture, plus conviction of the perpetrator.

Hopefully with the increased reward money and media exposure, justice can be served.