When starter Tyler Wilson didn't return for the fifth inning of the Orioles' 8-6 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday night, it capped what was undoubtedly the roughest turn through the rotation they've endured this season.
Over the past five games, Orioles starters have posted a 10.03 ERA, allowing 26 earned runs on 33 hits and six walks in 23 1/3 innings. They're somehow 3-2 in that stretch.
Each of Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Mike Wright, Chris Tillman and Wilson have fallen prey to either a blow-up inning, an uncharacteristically high home run rate, or both.
Wilson, who allowed five runs Saturday, including four in the fourth inning, said after the start that he needs to be able to stop the bleeding during the course of a game. That extends, too, to the rotation as a whole, which is putting its team in difficult positions and forcing the offense to erase deficits with various amounts of success.
"We have opportunities, and that's all we can ask for, the opportunity to stop the bleeding and to kind of recognize the moment and kind of rise up," Wilson said. "Nobody's not trying to step up, obviously. I think it's just everybody's working on different things, and everybody's trying to get better in a certain facet. It's a little different from guy to guy. I think we're really close to turning a corner — everybody, in a lot of different ways.
"Myself, the same. I feel like the work has been really good, the growth has been really good, from every pitcher that we have. Just like the guys don't quit within the framework of the game, we're not going to quit on our skill work too on the side. We're only going to get better from here."
Wilson, who joined the rotation in mid-April, has a 4.39 ERA on the season that jumps to 4.96 as a starter. Manager Buck Showalter said he "just made a lot of mistakes" Saturday.
"Uncharacteristically up," Showalter said. "Threw a lot of pitches. Just never … a little flat. Never found his way. Kind of fighting his command. Unusual for him."
That aberration for the typically sound Wilson compounds what has been a plummeting rotation of late.
Wright, who has a 5.88 ERA, was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk earlier this week only to be summoned back because of injury a day later. Jimenez has allowed five or more earned runs in three of his past four starts, didn't make it out of the second inning in the other in that group and has a 6.59 ERA. Tillman and Gausman's great starts to 2016 have been stopped dead by home runs.