One of the pratfalls you have to overcome as a baseball beat writer is being hyperbolic when describing the now. You have to be careful about saying something is the best or worst of the season because it just happened.
It’s human nature to say that whatever’s fresh is the most important. And I really, truly try to avoid that. Because unlike football, in which you have 16 games, baseball has 162. And as Orioles manager Buck Showalter likes to say, this happening doesn’t necessarily mean that will happen as a result.
All that said, the Orioles’ 13-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox was, in my opinion, the worst of 2013. Statistically, it tied an 11-0 defeat to the lowly Houston Astros on July 31 at home for largest margin of defeat.
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But that was July. This one is in late August. And it kicks off a crucial nine-game road trip to Boston, New York and Cleveland – three postseason contenders – that could make or break the season.
Several players said after the game that a loss is a loss – as Adam Jones eloquently put it, “Losing 2-1 hurts a little more than losing 13-2, so stop crying. Come back tomorrow and play the game of baseball.”
And that is the key here. The Orioles need to come back and play their butts off Wednesday. Or Tuesday’s butt-kicking could really snowball on them. And at this point in the season, one prolonged losing streak will end your season.
Now, to Orioles fans who want a little sunshine, I will say that this club has been tremendous about not letting one ugly defeat bleed into another.
Conversely, the Orioles' longest winning streak of the season is five games. There is little time left to put a run together. They need to have a sense of urgency now, and it starts Wednesday (it should have started on the West Coast trip, frankly.)
Wei-Yin Chen was particularly brutal Tuesday. But he’s allowed a terrible outing every now and then. What disturbs me most about Chen is that he has now allowed two homers in each of his past three outings for a total of six. In his first 14 starts this season, he allowed a total of six.
That statistic isn’t just alarming to me. I asked Chen about it and this is how he answered: “I don’t want to comment on that. Just a lot of hitters swinging the bat really well.” His ‘No comment’ said plenty.
** Wilson Betemit made his 2013 debut in the bottom of the eighth in the field and then grounded out to end the game in the ninth.
Who knows what kind of contributor he can be down the stretch. He is a useful bat, especially against right-handers, but he hasn’t basically played for a year.
That said, give the guy credit for working his way back from a serious knee injury. Betemit loves to play the game, and he’s giving it his all. I’m not sure how effective he can be, but his return was a silver lining to an awful game in Boston.