On the day the Orioles fired 11 members of their front office and scouting department, the on-field proceedings served as another reminder that regardless of changes to the staff and roster, their rebuild faces more than internal challenges.

The Orioles’ 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday at Camden Yards was their 12th straight to an American League East opponent.


Newcomer Ty Blach has made three of those outings for the Orioles, one each against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Rays. Those three teams, each in pursuit of a playoff spot in 2019, have left Blach with a 12.15 ERA with Baltimore.

Friday’s loss also made the Orioles the first team to officially be eliminated from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay’s seven runs in Blach’s four innings all scored in the second, with six coming with two outs. After Kevin Kiermaier got the Rays on the board with an RBI double, No. 9 hitter Mike Zunino scored two with a single. A walk and infield single followed before Austin Meadows broke the game open with a grand slam.

The Orioles have been outscored 103-50 during their in-division losing streak, a margin of nearly 4 1/2 runs per game. Only one of the defeats has been decided by fewer than three runs, with the latest

It’s not as if the divisional powers are going to weaken as the Orioles try to build, as executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias put it Friday, “a robust, vibrant, modern player development apparatus.”

The Yankees have shown all year that, even with players on the injured list whose collective salary is higher than the Orioles’ total payroll, they are a World Series contender. The Red Sox actually won the title last year and remain stocked with young talent. The Rays, despite their own payroll beneath that of the injured Yankees, have continually pumped out postseason teams. Even the Toronto Blue Jays, the only AL East team the Orioles have beaten in their past 17 tries, have a young core built around notable sons Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.

Elias and manager Brandon Hyde have made note all season about the difficulties an inexperienced collection of Orioles has faced in the AL East this season. Those challenges aren’t likely to end soon.

Tate the great

Rookie pitcher Dillon Tate joined the Orioles’ roster hours before Friday’s game when right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong was put on the injured list with a right forearm strain, then provided the first scoreless outing of his major league career.

Tate pitched three shutout innings of relief. Acquired from the Yankees in last summer’s Zack Britton trade, Tate moved to the bullpen for Double-A Bowie and had success in a relief role. It didn’t translate to the majors in his first three outings for the Orioles, as he posted 10.50 ERA in six innings.

He lowered that mark to 7.00 with Friday’s performance.

Villar’s surge continues

Jonathan Villar spoiled the Rays’ combined shutout bid with an eighth-inning home run, leaving him two home runs shy of the Orioles’ first 20-20 season since Manny Machado hit 35 home runs with 20 steals in 2015.

It was Villar’s seventh home run in 28 games since July 25. He entered Friday hitting .368/.460/.642 in that span.

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