One day, perhaps soon but also maybe not, Camden Yards being over half-full will be the floor and not the ceiling.
That will require games like Saturday’s, an 8-3 Orioles loss to the Chicago White Sox before a season-high 26,391 fans at Camden Yards, to become far less frequent. They’ll have to pitch well to do that.
“We’re in dire need of rotation help,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
“Right now, we’re definitely struggling in the rotation. We’re out of games early. We’ve only had a handful of quality starts since the [John] Means no-hitter [on May 5], which tells you a lot, and our bullpen guys have pitched a lot of innings. It’s been very challenging.”
The Orioles lost for the sixth time in seven games to fall to 28-60, putting them on pace for 110 losses in the penultimate game before the All-Star break. Their recent struggles have been due to a worn-out pitching staff.
Since Means went on the injured list on June 6, Orioles starters have an 8.12 ERA and a 1.87 WHIP. Saturday’s two-inning, four-run outing from Thomas Eshelman was the 13th time in 30 games in that span in which the starting pitcher allowed more earned runs than innings pitched.
“This is a tough stretch for us right now,” Eshelman said.
Saturday’s game got away quickly as Eshelman allowed a home run in the second inning to Brian Goodwin, then didn’t record an out in a three-run third inning. He and Hyde said a line drive off his shin early in the third inning affected him.
Chicago’s advantage only grew from there as it scored twice off left-hander Keegan Akin in the fifth inning and twice more in the seventh.
Lucas Giolito, who struck out nine Orioles batters while pitching into the sixth, and the White Sox bullpen combined to ensure that lead was plenty big.
The Orioles had stranded six by the time the eighth inning rolled around and they loaded the bases, but got just one run on a walk by Austin Hays before pinch-hitter Ryan McKenna struck out against All-Star closer Liam Hendricks to end the threat.
Leyba loops home two
Except for that pinch-hit walk by Hays, the Orioles got both of their runs on short-field singles by second baseman Domingo Leyba.
Leyba hit a two-out single in the fourth inning to score Ryan Mountcastle and a two-out single in the sixth to bring home Anthony Santander.
The waiver claim from the Arizona Diamondbacks has multi-hit games in back-to-back starts.
The only Orioles batter with more than one hit was Ramón Urías, whose two-hit game gave him five multi-hit games in his past six. He’s batting (15-for-41) with two doubles and three walks since taking over June 27 as the everyday shortstop for Freddy Galvis, who’s out with a quadriceps injury.
Akin saves the bullpen
Only getting two innings from Eshelman will have been a scary proposition for Hyde, but Akin’s 4 1/3 innings of relief with six strikeouts and four runs allowed meant it was just Akin and Adam Plutko, who didn’t allow a run on his own account in three innings.
Hyde said it was the best Akin has been in a while.
“I’m encouraged by that,” Hyde said. “He kind of gave up a few runs there, but probably tired there towards the end. I thought he threw the ball really well. Fastball had more life to it than his previous starts, threw some decent off-speed pitches so more aggressive in the strike zone, not missing on the wrong sides of the plate. I’m encouraged by him coming out of the pen.”
Sunday, 1:05 p.m.
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