One of the challenges of ending what is now a 19-game losing streak, Orioles starter Spenser Watkins said, is there are no light spots on the schedule when it comes to the big leagues.
“You don’t get that breather,” Watkins said. “You don’t get that easy team. That doesn’t exist here.”
The Los Angeles Angels, who beat the Orioles, 14-8, on Tuesday night at Camden Yards before an announced crowd of 8,718, might disagree. So too might the Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees. None have looked like they had much trouble beating these Orioles (38-86) as they’ve built one of the longest losing streaks in Major League Baseball history; it’s the longest in 16 years and tied for the fourth-longest since 1900. They’ve been outscored by 108 runs during this streak.
“It’s tough to stay in the game when you’re down 13-2 after four innings,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “You’ve got to pitch in this league to win. You’ve got to pitch in this league to be competitive.”
Refreshed from a day off and perhaps enlivened by the arrival of second base prospect Jahmai Jones, the Orioles only briefly looked like a team who might be capable of reversing course Tuesday.
A first-inning home run by Ryan Mountcastle off Angels starter and former Oriole Dylan Bundy gave the impression that this might be the Orioles’ night, one that was quickly pounded out of them as Watkins allowed five runs in the second inning, then three more in the third.
“They hit him around pretty good,” Hyde said.
Konner Wade, another minor league free agent signed to soak up innings, oversaw a five-run fourth inning to build the Orioles’ deficit to 13-2. He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game.
From there, they fought back. Anthony Santander had a run-scoring double, followed by a two-run single from Ramón Urías. Mountcastle’s second home run of the game, then Santander’s fourth home run to Eutaw Street of the season and 13th overall, brought them to within 13-8.
It brought some life to the game, but wasn’t nearly enough. Reliever Marcos Diplán had his scoreless streak ended at eight appearances by allowing an RBI single in the eighth inning, accounting for the final margin.
“We made it a five-run game after being so lopsided early,” Hyde said. “But if we want to play closer games, you’ve got to pitch to be able to do that.”
The loss gave the Orioles the longest losing streak in the majors since the 2005 Kansas City Royals lost 19 straight. The American League record is the 1988 Orioles’ 21-game losing streak to start the season, with the longest since 1900 a 23-game losing streak by the 1961 Philadelphia Phillies.
Tuesday’s loss eliminated the Orioles from having a mathematical chance to win the American League East, as they’re 39 games behind the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays with 38 games to play.
Japanese two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani was an attraction Tuesday at Camden Yards, even if it wasn’t his best day at the plate. Wednesday’s starter on the mound, who is 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA while also hitting a major league-leading 40 home runs, struck out to begin the game and singled in the eighth inning to go 1-for-4.
When he came up in the second inning, the scope of the All-Star’s talents was evident. With runners on second and third and two outs and the Angels leading 8-1, the Orioles automatically walked Ohtani to load the bases. The next batter lined out to end the inning.
Baltimore Orioles Insider
One of the bright spots of this Orioles losing streak, infielder Jorge Mateo, left Tuesday’s game with lower back discomfort, the team announced.
Mateo walked in his first at-bat of the game, then had a pair of singles to raise his average with the Orioles to .356. Ramón Urías shifted from third base to shortstop, and Kelvin Gutiérrez entered the game at third base.
For Jones, the former Angels prospect who was called up Monday from Triple-A Norfolk to make his Orioles debut, the highlights came defensively. He was hit by a pitch in his first at-bat, but ended the day 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
Longest losing streaks in MLB since 1900
The 2021 Orioles have lost 19 straight games, two shy of the club record. Here are the longest single-season losing streaks in Major League Baseball since 1900:
- 23 games — 1961 Philadelphia Phillies (July 29-Aug. 20)
- 21 games — 1988 Baltimore Orioles (April 4-April 28)
- 20 games — 1969 Montreal Expos (May 13-June 7)
- 20 games — 1916 Philadelphia Athletics (July 21-Aug. 8)
- 20 games — 1943 Philadelphia Athletics (Aug. 7-Aug. 24)
- 20 games — 1906 Boston Americans (May 1-May 24)
- 19 games — 2021 Baltimore Orioles (Aug. 3-present)
- 19 games — 2005 Kansas City Royals (July 28-Aug. 19)
- 19 games — 1975 Detroit Tigers (July 29-Aug. 15)
- 19 games — 1914 Cincinnati Reds (Sept. 6-Sept. 23)
- 19 games — 1906 Boston Beaneaters (May 17-June 8)
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