The Baltimore Orioles have allowed at least five runs in 20 straight games to tie a terrible MLB record.
There are some MLB records teams would trip over themselves to set. Like the single-season record for wins, home runs, ERA, runs, hits, batting average. You know — the good ones. The ones that would indicate your team is actually good. Instead, the Baltimore Orioles have tied a very old MLB record that no team would ever want to be associated.
The Orioles really didn’t waste much time getting down to the business of being awful on the mound on Friday night. Ubaldo Jimenez walked the first two hitters then allowed a single, a triple, and an RBI groundout to give the Tampa Bay Rays four runs before three outs were even in the books. Jimenez then gave up a leadoff double in the second, followed by a single and a sacrifice fly to push across the fifth run.
Allowing five runs in less than two innings wasn’t enough for the biggest free agent bust in Orioles history. Jimenez allowed two-run home runs to Shane Peterson and Derek Norris in the third inning and left after 2.1 innings with seven hits, nine runs, four walks and two home runs to his name. The scattershot right-hander now sports a lovely 7.26 ERA on the year and is slated to run his record to 2-3.
Over the past few days, Orioles fans seemed to embrace their team’s chance to tie a record, no matter how dubious. The O’s will now forever be linked to the 1924 Phillies who went 55-96 and were outscored by 173 runs. The best pitcher that year for the Phillies was Jimmy Ring, who went 10-12 with a 3.97 ERA. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette is currently checking into whether or not Ring still has minor league options.
Seemingly everything that could go wrong for the Orioles since early May has gone wrong. Kevin Gausman has continued to regress and struggle with his command. Chris Tillman is a shell of his former self and has an ERA creeping up towards 9.00 after nine starts. Dylan Bundy has been the best Orioles starter all year, but has a 6.64 ERA over his four starts during the streak. Overall, their rotation has a 5.61 ERA, which is somehow only 29th in the league.
This is what happens when a team’s fate hinges on a bunch of homer-prone starters with command issues. The Orioles have consistently beaten the odds since making the playoffs in 2012, but no elite bullpen can mask the deficiencies in this starting rotation. Since starting the year 22-10, the Orioles are 13-27. With only a year and change left of control on All-Star Manny Machado, now might be the time for the Orioles to start thinking about a rebuild.