ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Baltimore Orioles haven’t taken advantage of their suddenly sparkling starting pitching over the past two weeks.
They rallied from a three-run deficit to tie the score in the eighth inning Monday night before left-hander Brian Matusz allowed a game-winning, two-run homer to the Tampa Bay Rays’ Jerry Sands in a 5-4 loss — the Orioles’ third defeat in the past four games — in front of an announced 10,576 at Tropicana Field.
That wasn’t the only bad news on the day. Baltimore learned catcher Matt Wieters, who has missed the past five weeks with discomfort in his throwing arm, will undergo elbow ligament replacement surgery Tuesday that will end his season.
The Orioles wasted a fine effort from left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, who recorded the team’s eighth straight quality start, holding the Rays to three runs and six hits in 62 / 3 innings.
The starting rotation has recorded quality starts in 10 of the team’s past 11 games, but Baltimore (35-34) has won just five times in that span. In those 11 games, the Orioles are hitting .217 with runners in scoring position (15 for 69).
Chen tallied his third straight quality start, and he has allowed just five earned runs in 20 innings over that span (2.25 ERA).
The decision to perform the procedure, commonly called Tommy John surgery, on Wieters was made after he was reexamined by renowned orthopedist James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla., earlier in the day.
The loss of Wieters is a major jolt to the Orioles, who held out hope their all-star and Gold Glove catcher would be able to help them down the stretch. Wieters has been on the disabled list since May 11.
In recent days, the team became concerned Wieters could be lost for the season after he continued to have discomfort in his right arm well into a light throwing progression that began more than two weeks ago.
After not throwing for three weeks, Wieters had started the throwing progression to see whether rest and treatment would help the elbow heal.
Wieters was having one of his best seasons at the plate before being sidelined, hitting .308 with five homers and 18 RBI in 26 games.
— Baltimore Sun