“We do have some experienced pitchers at Triple-A that we hope can help us at some point, and you know they are,” Duquette said. “They’re Tillman and Zach Britton, and at some point we hope that they’re ready to come up and help us in the rotation.”
Perhaps what makes this stretch particularly ugly for the Orioles is what the Indians were able to do in this series.
Heading into Thursday, Cleveland was 5-16 against left-handed starters and had a .216 average versus all southpaws, tied for the worst mark in the majors. They faced three Orioles’ left-handed starters in the series, and won all three games while scoring 15 earned runs in 14 innings against the trio of Matusz, Eveland andWei-Yin Chen.
The Indians hit .322 against those three Orioles’ starters, with their only win started by righty Arrieta.
“They’re such a good offensive team, if you look at some of their splits through their minor leagues and major leagues, [struggling versus lefties] is not something that should continue, [but] unfortunately it didn’t here,” Showalter said. “You couple that with us not pitching well, it doesn’t matter if you are left-handed, right-handed or throwing them between your legs. If you put [pitches] where we are throwing some of them, you are going to get hurt.”
Baltimore’s offense deserves an assist in the futility Sunday, scoring just two runs (one earned) while striking out seven times in seven innings against Cleveland’s Justin Masterson (5-7). The Orioles didn’t get a hit against Masterson until Ryan Flaherty’s bloop single with two outs in the fifth. They only got one more hit after Masterson left the game.
There was one moment to remember Sunday for the Orioles. Thome, the 41-year-old veteran designated hitter whom the Orioles acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday, made his club debut. He received a standing ovation in his first at-bat, but ultimately went hitless with one strikeout in four trips to the plate.
Thome’s presence in the lineup is supposed to signal that the Orioles are making a run for the 2012 playoffs and will make the improvements necessary to get there. But the performance on the field recently suggests otherwise.
“We’re not in any trouble,” Jones said. “[The media] are blowing it up and making it seem like we [stink]. We’re just not playing the best baseball we have. We’ll be fine.”