A change of venue and a stern post-game lecture from manager Buck Showalter about 18 hours earlier did nothing to curb the Orioles' losing ways -- or even hide the team's countless inadequacies for one night.
For the Orioles still had more unsightly play to offer and another dose of humiliation to swallow. A 10-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox in front of an announced 37,981 at Fenway Park on Thursday night included all the elements of so many of the losses before it, with the additional twist of one of the Orioles' relievers allowing three consecutive home runs.
"It does no good to be angry," said center fielder Adam Jones, who had an RBI single as part of the Orioles' two-run first inning. "Frustration is definitely there, but it does no good to call people out or say, 'This guy isn't doing this, this guy isn't doing that.' We, we, we have to do better. We have to get better than this. There's nothing more I can say. We just have to get better."
To say that the Orioles are limping into the All-Star break would be a gross understatement. How about crawling, while stopping every few yards to pick up the pieces of a season that once held at least some promise?
The Orioles (36-49) have lost four straight games, nine of their past 10 and 18 of their past 24. It's getting to the point where they are barely even competitive, having been outscored 40-15 during their four-game skid and having allowed 10 or more runs in three of those games.
The R13 hits by the Red Sox (52-35), which included six home runs by six players, marked the fifth straight game in which the Orioles have surrendered a double-digit hit total.
"I can't speak for everybody, but it's worn on me a little bit -- not going out there and doing my job, doing my part," said starter Jake Arrieta, who lost for the third time in four starts and set the tone for another night of dreadful Orioles pitching. "That's one of the only things I can control is going out there every fifth day and keeping us competitive and keeping us in the game. The last three starts, I really haven't been able to do that. And that's not me, that's not the pitcher or the kind of guy I am. So, just got to do whatever I can and try to get back to where I need to be and help the team in any way possible."
If it were just one area that was crushing the Orioles, perhaps it would be a little easier to accept. However, the fact remains that this reeling club has every facet of a bad baseball team covered.
Short and ineffective outings by starters? Arrieta accomplished that Thursday in surrendering five runs (four earned) in just 4 1/3 innings. The Orioles have had just one pitcher (Jeremy Guthrie) complete seven innings in the past 23 games, and their starters' ERA during that stretch is 6.91.
Shoddy work from the bullpen? Jason Berken allowed a two-run homer to Jacoby Ellsbury in the sixth inning, but that was nothing when you consider that the pitcher he was relieved by, Pedro Viola, didn't retire any of the four hitters he faced and managed to keep only one of them in the ballpark.
David Ortiz, Josh Reddick and Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit back-to-back-to-back home runs off Viola in the seventh inning, the first time the Orioles have allowed the feat since Guthrie was taken deep by three consecutive New York Yankees on May 20, 2009.
And finally, more futility with runners in scoring position? The Orioles had that covered, going 1-for-8 and leaving seven runners on. They are batting .173 with runners in scoring position since June 11.
"Men in scoring position, everything. It's got to turn. It's got to turn around or changes will be made," Jones said. "That's just how this game works."
On Thursday, the Orioles scored three runs off Red Sox starter Andrew Miller (3-0) despite the left-hander's having suspect command and allowing 11 base runners in five innings. They allowed reliever Alfredo Aceves to throw two scoreless innings and retire all six hitters he faced on 15 total pitches when the game was still reasonably in doubt.
"There was a game there to be won," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who had ripped into his team after their 13-5, sweep-completing loss to the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night. "I think we've had leads in three of the last four games we played. Jake's command was an issue. Jake is out there, and you can see it. His tempo slows down, the wheels start turning. I think he's overthinking a lot of things and he's just not getting in the rhythm of throwing the ball over the plate and trusting his stuff. It's just not very good right now."
One of the game's biggest sequences was in the third, when Arrieta, trying to protect a 2-0 lead, allowed consecutive walks to No. 9 hitter Marco Scutaro (on four pitches) and Jacoby Ellsbury. He fell behind 3-0 to Dustin Pedroia, who was predictably looking for a fastball and got it, driving Arrieta's pitch over the Green Monster for a three-run homer.
"That could have easily been avoided," Arrieta said.
So could have some of the carnage that followed, but it wasn't and the Orioles were beaten soundly again, with each loss growing more difficult and embarrassing than the one before it.
"It's definitely frustrating," said shortstop J.J. Hardy, whose sacrifice fly tied the score at 3 in the fourth.
"It's just kind of one of those stretches where things really aren't going our way. We have to do something to turn it around and get some stuff to go our way a little bit. It's hard, but you just got to look forward and hope tomorrow is the day that turns it all around, I guess."
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