The Baltimore Orioles will try to avoid matching the longest losing streak in the majors in 16 years when they host the Los Angeles Angels in the opener of a three-game series on Tuesday.
The Orioles have lost 18 straight games, the most since the Kansas City Royals dropped 19 in a row in 2005.
“This has been a tough run,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Extremely tough.”
The Orioles were swept in a series for the fifth straight time on Sunday, losing at the Atlanta Braves 3-1. All three losses in the series were by three runs or fewer, a margin of defeat that occurred only three times in the previous 15 games.
“I have no problem with effort,” Hyde said. “We’re not winning games. We’re not executing. We’re very inexperienced.”
If there was a positive to emerge from the weekend series in Atlanta, it was the performance of the Baltimore bullpen.
The relievers combined to allow one run in 10 2/3 innings against the Braves.
Jorge Lopez made his first relief appearance after 25 starts this season and the veteran right-hander blanked the Braves in the ninth inning on Sunday. Hyde was impressed with what he saw from Lopez.
“I thought he looked confident,” Hyde said. “I thought the fastball had really good life to it. You saw some bad swings. I liked the way he challenged hitters.”
The Orioles are scheduled to send right-hander Spenser Watkins to the mound for the series opener.
Watkins (2-5, 5.63 ERA) made his major league debut against the Angels on July 2, throwing an inning of hitless relief in an 8-7 loss in Anaheim, Calif.
Watkins has made eight starts since his debut, but his results have not improved. He’s 0-4 in August with an 8.24 ERA.
Two of his past three outings have come against the Tampa Bay Rays, who own the best record in the American League, and the other was against the Boston Red Sox.
The Angels plan to counter with right-hander Dylan Bundy, a former first-round draft pick of the Orioles who made 103 starts for Baltimore from 2016-19.
Bundy (2-9, 6.04 ERA) has been trying to re-establish himself as a starter after being demoted to the bullpen earlier this season. He’s 1-1 in three starts in August with a 3.00 ERA.
Bundy hopes for better run support than the Angels provided in the past three games, as Los Angeles combined for two runs while getting swept by the Cleveland Indians.
“We’ve come out of our zones in certain moments,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. “We have to be perfect on a nightly basis, or get as close to it as possible. When we have opportunities to take advantage of moments, we have to.”
And that includes taking a walk if the opposing pitcher wants to nibble at the strike zone.
“When you’re walking, you’re hitting,” Maddon said. “I’m not an advocate of walking all the time. My point is that you’re not expanding your strike zone. As we tighten things up at the plate regarding what we’re swinging at, we’re going to get better pitches to hit. Then you’re going to see the result you’re looking for.”
–Field Level Media