Baltimore Orioles

From blowouts to blown leads: Ranking the worst Orioles losses of the 2019 season

With a comfortable 7-1 lead in the fifth inning Wednesday night and the not-terribly-imposing Toronto Blue Jays opposite them at Camden Yards, there was still a fair amount of unease about how the rest of the game would play out, given how similar games have gone for this team.

What turned out to be loss No. 103 — after Miguel Castro, one of the team’s best relievers the past few months, allowed six runs (five earned) including a go-ahead grand slam to Randal Grichuk in the ninth inning — was one of several that could earn the distinction of “worst of the season.”


And there are plenty, which can be frustrating to watch even when accepting the team’s long-term plans, none of which involve having enough talent or experience to avoid another 100-loss season.

The Orioles have lost leads late, built them early only to lose so badly it was as if they never existed, and gotten plain old killed over the course of this difficult season. But this was how it was supposed to go.


Here’s an equally subjective and objective ranking of the worst Orioles losses of the 2019 season.

1. Aug. 10, 23-2 loss to the Houston Astros

This one needs no explanation. It started badly, with Alex Bregman and Yordan Álvarez staking Houston to an early lead with home runs, and it only got worse. Aaron Brooks, Branden Kline and Tayler Scott all had days to forget, and the Astros piled on by picking on Stevie Wilkerson, who took the mound, as the game was wrapping up.

2. May 20, 10-7 to the New York Yankees

The first of multiple appearances by the Yankees, who beat the Orioles 17 times this season, was tough to stomach. Andrew Cashner had a 6-1 lead going into the sixth, and allowed two runs of his own, but that didn’t kill the Orioles. What did was Mychal Givens allowing a home run to Gleyber Torres in the eighth and still getting the ninth inning, in which he went: single, single, groundout, sacrifice fly, walk, Gary Sánchez home run. Gary Thorne had some thoughts.

3. Sept. 18, 11-10 to the Toronto Blue Jays

Maybe this is so high because it’s so fresh, but it’s also plenty warranted. The Orioles played five innings of winning baseball with timely two-out hits and some big stands by Dylan Bundy, only to watch it slip away. It had the same energy of all the mid-decade games at Camden Yards when the Orioles would chip away and be the team that came up with that big ninth-inning swing and everyone knew it was going to happen. This was the opposite.

T-4. June 5, 2-1 to the Texas Rangers and May 8, 2-1 to the Boston Red Sox


It’s not always about the pitching when this team loses; the Orioles also have trouble hitting sometimes. These two games are prime examples, and too close to each other to distinguish. In each 12-inning loss, the Orioles’ starters hung tough against stud left-handers — Mike Minor and Chris Sale — and there was never a breakthrough to pay them off. In Texas, the Orioles stranded 11 runners. Against Sale and the Red Sox, they struck out 22 times and had just five hits. Those are just as painful as the rest.

6. April 7, 15-3 to the New York Yankees

This loss kind of blends in with the rest to the Yankees, but was indicative of what was ahead. New York hit seven home runs in this rout, which featured struggles from three pitchers who had plenty this year: David Hess, Mike Wright and Dan Straily. It was Straily’s debut out of the bullpen just a few days after the Orioles signed him, and was most certainly a harbinger of bad things to come on that front. He allowed the first two of his many home runs. Hanser Alberto also pitched.

7. May 16, 14-7 to the Cleveland Indians

It’s got to be a good feeling to hang seven runs on a pitcher like Trevor Bauer, as the Orioles did quickly upon their arrival in Cleveland. It stops feeling good when the early 5-1 lead in said game is gone by the fourth inning, and turns into a touchdown loss. For the first seven or eight weeks of the season, the Orioles lost a lot, but held their own. This was the beginning of a very bad stretch for them, and it started in pretty rough fashion.

8. June 14, 13-2 to the Boston Red Sox


Your standard midseason blowout loss was unique in this case because of the circumstances. The Orioles were short on pitching and summoned Luis Ortiz and Josh Rogers from Triple-A Norfolk to cover innings. Manager Brandon Hyde’s pregame prognostication did not convey much confidence as he declared he had “no idea what to expect” from Ortiz, who was carrying a 7.01 ERA at Norfolk and allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings in a loss. Straily made things worse, and Rogers held his own to play out the string. But it just showed what they had in the cupboard at the moment.

9. Aug. 18, 13-7 loss to the Boston Red Sox

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Ty Blach being designated for assignment meant his time with the Orioles didn’t end up great, but Blach pitched well early in his test at Fenway Park, with a 6-0 lead down to 6-3 when he took the mound in the sixth inning. He was one of four Orioles pitchers featured in that six-run sixth, part of 13 consecutive runs for the Red Sox. If only they had a lockdown reliever like Boston’s Cashner, who earned a hold with a scoreless seventh inning.

10. May 1, 7-6 loss to the Chicago White Sox

After winning the first game of the doubleheader, the Orioles took a 4-2 lead in the fourth of Game 2, only for it to disappear in the bottom half. They tied the game in the sixth and took the lead in the seventh. Then, Hyde played the matchups with Evan Phillips (single, walk), Paul Fry (groundout) and Castro. Castro got a strikeout, issued an intentional walk, then allowed a two-run single to end the game.

11. May 26, 8-7 loss to the Colorado Rockies


Another in that miserable May stretch when everything seemed to backfire on the Orioles, they came back from down 5-1 through six to carry a 7-6 lead into the ninth inning. Kline, who stranded two runners in the eighth with a pair of strikeouts, allowed a one-out single before Fry walked the only batter he faced. Givens walked Mark Reynolds on four pitches to load the bases, walked Ian Desmond with the count full to tie the game and allowed a sacrifice fly to Tony Wolters to end it.

12. June 16, 8-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox

This was shaping up to be a well-earned win for the Orioles, who took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth and handed the ball to Givens for the bottom of the Red Sox lineup. No. 9 hitter Marco Hernandez took him deep to send the game to extra innings, and Rafael Devers homered off him to open up what became a five-run 10th. Stevie Wilkerson and Trey Mancini added consolation home runs in the home half.