In a year that seemed much more bad than good for the Orioles, here are five forgettable moments that stand out.
1) May 23-What did Brian Matusz do?
In the 12th inning of a scoreless game in Miami, home plate umpire Jordan Baker and third base umpire walked toward Matusz, checked his arm and after a few moments ejected him.
Matusz, who is among the least controversial of the Orioles, was ruled to have had a foreign substance on his forearm, and he was ejected. The Orioles lost the game 1-0 in the 13th, and Matusz was suspended for eight games. Earlier in the week, Milwaukee’s Will Smith had also been ejected and suspended for eight games.
Marlins manager Dan Jennings, in his first week as a big league skipper, got his first win.
Matusz’s suspension was upheld, and the Orioles had to play a man short for eight games. They went 7-1.
2) August 23-Machado comes up short
J.J. Hardy’s groin was hurting, and he had to come out of the game. Jimmy Paredes pinch ran for him in the 11th inning, and it was obvious that Manny Machado would move from third base to shortstop for the first time in his major league career.
Paredes moved to third to begin the 12th, and with one out, the Minnesota Twins’ Eduardo Escobar hit a ground ball to shortstop that Machado booted. Escobar wound up on second. Two batters later, Shane Robinson hit a grounder to third that Paredes muffed, and the Twins scored an unearned run for a 5-4 win. Afterward, Machado was angry, but got a chance to redeem himself at short when Hardy went on the disabled list. It was the end of a homestand that begin with five wins in six games and ended with four straight losses to Minnesota.
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3) August 30-Jones speaks out
After the Twins sweep, the Orioles went to Kansas City and Texas and fell completely out of the playoff hunt, losing six of seven.
The first game against the Royals featured one of those breathtaking rallies. Kansas City scored seven runs with two outs. After the Royals had seven straight hits, including hitting for the cycle in four at-bats, the Orioles 3-1 lead was an 8-3 deficit. By Sunday when the Orioles were shut out by a rehabbing Derek Holland, Adam Jones had enough.
The night before, Machado ended the game with a protested checked swing, and a day later, Jones angrily denounced fans who thought the team had no chance for the postseason.
“We’re still right in the thick of things,” Jones said even though the Orioles were four games under .500.
“To say our effort level wasn’t there, that’s a slap in the face and I want to slap somebody in the face who says that.”
4) September 20-Britton blows a save at Tampa Bay
The Orioles lost 15 of 18 to fall out of the race. Despite that, they still insisted they had a chance. In their next three series, they won two of three each time, and won two of their first three against Tampa Bay.
With a 5-4 lead heading to the ninth, Zach Britton allowed two runs to the Rays in the ninth. Brandon Guyer hit a leadoff home run, and with the bases loaded, Kevin Kiermaier beat out an infield single, and the ultra-reliable Britton blew his fourth save of the season.
Britton was suffering from a sore lat muscle, and didn’t pitch again for a week. Darren O’Day closed out the Orioles’ three-game sweep in Washington.
5) Sept. 25-27 Shut Out in Boston
For three days, the Orioles did nothing in Boston. They were shut out three straight times by the same opponent for the first time in franchise history. In 1957, two different teams shut them out in three straight games.
Rich Hill, who had a horrible few months for the Orioles in 2009, shut them out 7-0 on Friday night. The next day, seven relievers blanked them 8-0, and on Sunday, Henry Owens pitched into the eighth inning in a 2-0 loss.
There were other bad moments, too. The Orioles allowed 10 or more runs 10 times, six against Toronto. Five of the 10 losses came after Sept. 1 with expanded bullpens not helping. The Orioles were no hit by Seattle’s Hisashi Iwakuma, the first time they’d been hitless since Sept. 2007.
Even though the Orioles won their final five games of the season to finish at .500, fans expected more, and the season will be viewed as disappointment, with many more bad moments than good ones.
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