We didn't realize it at the time, but something magic happened on Friday, June 2, 2017. The Orioles beat the Red Sox 3-2 that day and Alec Asher got the win. We didn't know then what we know today but we should have cued Don McLean (or Denny McLain) because that was the day the O's pitching died.
Tonight they play at Tampa Bay with some pitching infamy lurking just 9 innings away.
The Orioles have given up at least five runs in 19 straight games, if Ubaldo Jimenez and friends can't hold the Rays under 5 tonight they'll equal the major league record set by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies who gave up 5 or more runs in 20 straight games.
How bad is the Orioles pitching staff, let us count the ways. Their 5.10 team ERA is the worst in both leagues. Opponents are hitting .284 against Baltimore pitchers the highest in the majors (Houston is .230 the MLB average is .255). They lead the American league in walks, rank 26 of 30 in strikeouts and Kevin Gausman and Wade Miley rank 1-2 in the majors in pitches per inning (that's not a good thing).
The worst team in Orioles history was the 1988 bunch (54-107) that started the season 0-21. As bad as they were in that horrendous record breaking start they held opponents under 5 runs 10 times during those 21 losses. Yes, the Oswaldo Perez, Jose Bautista, Jay Tibbs era suddenly doesn't look so bad, their season ERA of 4.54 looks sparkling compared to today's 5.04.
This futile starting pitching will not only doom this season but the ability to fix it will chart the Orioles course for the next 3-5 years. We can talk all day long about the club's chances of signing Manny Machado but how much will it matter if you have the worst pitching in baseball.
Orioles pitching, the staple of a franchise that led to 6 World Series runs in 18 years, has never been worse and later tonight they may have an embarrassing record to prove it.
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