BOSTON – After a lost weekend in Boston when the Orioles suffered three consecutive shutouts for the first time since July 29-31, 1957, there’s little for them to play for.
Their faint playoff hopes they came here with after winning 11 of 15 and sweeping the Nationals, are gone after a silent three games here.
Seven games remain, and the Orioles must win six of them to end the year with a winning record, and five to simply finish .500
“You want to be a winning team, but if you’re not in the playoffs what does a winning season mean?” Zach Britton said.
“Our goal is not to be a winning club, it’s to be the club that wins the World Series. Maybe if you’re talking to me five years ago, then yeah, OK, we’re happy with .500 or over .500. But not now, not after being in the ALCS last year. This is unacceptable to our standards. No matter any way you cut it, if we’re not in the postseason this year, it’s a disappointment.”
The disappointment continued on Sunday with a 2-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox before 33,306 at Fenway Park.
On Monday, the Orioles (76-79) begin a seven-game homestand against the Blue Jays and Yankees.
“Guys are realistic in there, but at the same time, we’re not thinking that we’re done. We have seven games left and if anything you’re playing for pride and you’re playing to make it tougher on Toronto and New York. Toronto has clinched a playoff spot, but New York hasn’t. We don’t want anybody celebrating on our field and that’s the mindset we’re taking into this homestand,” Britton said.
How bad was the weekend?
The Orioles were swept in Boston for the first time since July 7-10, 2011. At least that was a four-game sweep.
The trio of shutouts were their first since Chicago and Cleveland blanked them 58 years ago, and for the only time since the franchise arrived in Baltimore in 1954, they were shut out in three consecutive games by the same team.
On Sunday, Henry Owens joined in the fun that Rich Hill and a bevy of relievers began in blanking the Orioles. Owens (4-3) pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings against the Orioles for the second time in 11 days.
The Orioles had just five hits on Sunday and 12 this weekend with only two for extra bases.
“It happens. This is baseball. Nothing's deflating, man. It's baseball. We're grown men. When you go through tough times you just fight through them. No complaining, no crying about it,” Adam Jones said.
“I don't think anybody's been pressing. We've just been getting our butts kicked.”
Ubaldo Jimenez (12-10) was a hard-luck loser, pitching decently, allowing two runs on six hits in seven innings.
“We pitched well enough to win some of these games here,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Britton, who hadn’t pitched in a week because of a strained left lat muscle, threw a scoreless eighth.
Jones returned after missing five games with back spasms and was 1-for-4.
“They had us off-balance the entire series. I know I only played one game, but they had us off-balance. We hit balls hard right at guys. Just nothing to show for it. It happens like that. Previous series we had a lot of balls falling for us in D.C. It's just a game of inches and in this series we didn't get any of those inches,” Jones said.
Chris Davis had a two-out single in the first. That was the Orioles’ only hit in the first five innings. Gerardo Parra walked with two outs in the second, and Nolan Reimold reached on an error in the third.
Manny Machado singled in the sixth, stole second and moved to third on Jones’ single. Steve Pearce’s grounder to third ended the threat.
Boston (75-80) scored a run in the first. Brock Holt walked and moved to third on Xander Bogaerts’ single. Bogaerts was thrown out at second, but moments later Holt scored on a wild pitch.
Blake Swihart led off the third with his third home run of the season, and it was 2-0.
Noe Ramirez, Tommy Layne and Robbie Ross finished the shutout.
“It’s frustrating. Our guys are prepared. They work hard to be prepared. They know exactly what the guy’s going to do, and they’re still able to do it. Everybody’s trying so hard to get it back with one swing, and this game doesn’t work like that,” Showalter said.
NOTES: Hunter Harvey, who was seen by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs, will see Dr. James Andrews on Oct. 5 for an examination of his right elbow. …The Orioles begin a four-game series with Toronto at home on Monday night. Chris Tillman (10-11, 5.16) starts against Marco Estrada (13-8, 3.13).
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