BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles’ 6-2 loss to the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night painted an all too familiar picture for the team’s starting rotation.
Throughout this season, the Orioles’ starters have failed to get deep into games, placing an added burden on a bullpen that can not be overworked if the team is going to remain competitive.
Baltimore starters have failed to go more than six innings in 7 of 14 games this season, and none have pitched seven full innings.
Wednesday’s starter, right-hander Chris Tillman, lasted just five innings. He was forced from the game after throwing 93 pitches in another outing that hung too much work on the bullpen.
In the first two games of this series, the starters have lasted just five innings against a Tampa Bay team that entered Wednesday night off to its worst offensive start in team history and had the ninth-worst team batting average through a season’s first 14 games over the past 25 years.
Tillman (0-1) hasn’t gone further than 51 / 3 innings in any of his first three starts of the season, all three outings hurt by high pitch counts.
On Wednesday, Tillman was constantly behind in the count. He threw first-pitch balls to 17 of the 22 batters he faced. He also faced five three-ball counts.
Just six hitters into his outing, Tillman had allowed two solo homers. Kelly Johnson took a 1-0 fastball over the right-center field fence two batters into the game. In the second inning, Shelley Duncan hit a 2-1 slider to left-center field to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.
The Orioles (7-7) tied the game in the third when Adam Jones hit a two-run homer off Rays starter Matt Moore (3-0), who had opened the season with 14 scoreless innings. With Manny Machado on second and two outs, Jones hit a first-pitch fastball toward the Baltimore bullpen in left-center. The ball ricocheted off a horizontal metal bar just behind the fence and bounced back into play, and second base umpire Brian Knight initially called it a double. But the umpiring crew changed the call to a home run after a video review.
Jones’s homer was just the third call that’s been overturned at Camden Yards since video review was instituted in August of 2008. There have been 18 calls reviewed involving the Orioles, 12 of them at Camden Yards.
Jones made a costly misplay the fourth that led to two Tampa Bay taking a 4-2 lead. With runners on second and third and one out, James Loney lined a ball to left that Jones charged and tried to catch. The ball dropped well in front of Jones and skipped past him, allowing both base runners to score.
The ball was ruled a double, but it came just four days after Jones dropped a ball in center field at Yankee Stadium, which cost the Orioles three runs in a 5-2 loss.
The Orioles were held to five hits, none coming after Alexi Casilla’s seventh-inning single.
Moore held the Orioles to two runs on five hits over 62 / 3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
The Rays (5-9) added a run in the sixth off left-handed reliever T.J. McFarland on Yunel Escobar’s two-out single with runners on second and third. It was the first run that the Orioles’ Rule 5 pick allowed this season.
Loney drove in another run off McFarland in the eighth with a one-out single to left that scored Matt Joyce, who hit a leadoff single and stole second.