Post-game notes on Gregg, Bell, JJ and Hunter
A few things that I wanted to point out after tonight’s brutal 9-8 loss to the Angels in 12 innings…
*The late-inning meltdown extended the Orioles’ streak to 15 series without a win, and dashed any hope of recording what would be their first road series win since May 13-15 at Tampa Bay. Baltimore’s continued backslide also has the club on pace to eclipse the 100-loss mark, a dubious distinction they have reached just once since 1954, and one that becomes more of a reality with Saturday’s heartbreaking defeat.
*Closer Kevin Gregg — who wasn’t helped by the continued struggles of young third baseman Josh Bell — faced five or more batters without getting an out for the second time in four outings tonight.
Gregg has now allowed runs in three of his last four games, and despite allowing a leadoff single and hit batsmen, he seemed more concerned with Bell’s two botched plays than anything else.
“You got to take care of the baseball,” said Gregg who was lifted after issuing a bases-loaded walk. “Sacrifice bunt and you throw it away. You have [Peter] Bourjos running down to first. You have to know about his speed,” added Gregg who was removed after issuing a bases-loaded walk, which tied the game, to the next batter. “Obviously, a questionable call at first base [regarding if Bourjos was safe]. If both of those things are done, you’re looking at a different situation.”
*Angels starter Joel Pineiro, who taken out of the rotation following his third consecutive loss August 3, looked poised for another dismal outing after the Orioles jumped on him for a three-run second inning. The O’s offense recorded eight hits in the first three innings alone, but largely left Pineiro off the hook as the right-hander allowed only a solo homer to Adam Jones in recording the final 12 outs of his six-inning start.
That simply cannot happen if you’re the Orioles. I know a lot went wrong and the game kept getting uglier long after Pineiro’s six innings, but the O’s have lost three consecutive games in which they have posted 12 or more hits. That’s unacceptable.
*With a rare three-run lead to work, it took Orioles starter Tommy Hunter less than two innings to give it back. After allowing a run in the second, Hunter let five of the first six batters he faced to reach safely in a four-run third highlighted by Bobby Abreu’s two-run double. Peter Bourjos connected for his second homer in as many games with a one-out solo shot in the seventh that ended Hunter’s night.
*You want silver lining? This is all I got: reliever Jim Johnson tossed a season-high three scoreless innings, his longest outing since April 19, 2008, to mark just the third time in his Major League career he’s thrown at least three innings. Johnson, who will likely be stretched out and used as a rotation candidate in the season’s final weeks, didn’t allow a hit and pitched out of a leadoff walk in the eighth.