Orioles losing ugly not a good sign

Nothing makes a team look worse in a losing effort than shoddy defense, and the reeling Orioles showed plenty of that in Tuesday night's 8-6 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. It doesn't help when frustrated players lose their cool and take it out on the umpires, either. But we'll get to Matt Wieters in a moment.

First, the errors. Orioles starter Jake Arrieta simply rushed his throw on the bunt Rajai Davis laid down in the third inning. Ugly, sure. But stuff like that happens. And normally sure-handed Adam Jones had David Cooper's fly ball to center drop out of his glove in the fourth.  That was even uglier.


But Wilson Betamit's botched back-hand attempt on Davis' single to left one batter later was so truly homely you wanted to avert your eyes.

First of all, it looked as if Betamit loafed after the ball in the first place. He had plenty of time to get in front of it if he'd hustled. But he tried to back-hand the ball and it got past him, and the result was another play that left O's fans shaking their heads.

As for Wieters, he's as great a gamer as the Orioles have. Sure, he's struggling at the plate (.231 batting average), but he's having an All-Star year defensively and the Orioles continue to rave about his work with the young pitchers. Which is why his ejection in the fifth inning – the first of his career – for saying something nasty to home plate umpire Doug Eddings, might have really hurt the Orioles.

Yes, they were down 8-1 at the time. But they rallied to close the gap to 8-6 late in the game, and who knows what would have happened with Wieters' bat still in the lineup? Not to mention the fact that his ejection left the O's with one catcher (Ronny Paulino) for the rest of the game.

As MASN announcer Gary Thorne stressed, you don't see Matt Wieters get that hot at an umpire very often. And Eddings' strike zone seemed larger than a highway billboard for much of the game. But Wieters's presence in the Orioles lineup is simply too critical for him to lose his cool like that.

Ugly game all around for the Orioles. The frustration is mounting. They've lost four straight and seven of nine. But it's at times like this when good teams respond by playing fundamentally-sound baseball.

And keeping their cool.

We'll see how the Orioles respond tonight.