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USA TODAY 27 August, 2021 - 05:34am 20 views

How many games in a row have the Orioles lost?

Orioles losing streak: Dreadful O's approaching MLB and franchise history. The 2021 Baltimore Orioles have lost 19 straight games. CBS sports.comOrioles losing streak: Dreadful O's approaching MLB and franchise history

'A lot of relief': Baltimore Orioles rally past L.A. Angels to snap 19-game losing streak

USA TODAY 27 August, 2021 - 12:00pm

Perhaps receiving a boost from their superstitious practices, the Orioles rallied to defeat the Angels and snap their 19-game losing streak.

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BALTIMORE — The most downtrodden baseball team on the planet faced the game's most transcendent star Wednesday night, a stage ostensibly designed to showcase Shohei Ohtani’s singular greatness.

Instead, it served as a platform to remind us the many ways this absurd sport can startle us all.

The Baltimore Orioles were just a few minutes from their 20th consecutive loss, putting them shoulder-to-shoulder with their 1988 brethren who lost an American League record 21 straight, when a terrible Los Angeles Angels bullpen interceded on their behalf. 

Or perhaps it was the sage. 

After 19 straight losses, the longest skid in the majors since 2005, Orioles catcher Austin Wynns arranged overnight delivery of the sacred herb to Camden Yards, where he and veteran Trey Mancini jolted their teammates and manager Brandon Hyde out of their pregame routines by spreading its pungent aroma.

"He and I walked around the ballpark," Mancini said of Wynns, "and saged everything we could. Took a good 15 minutes to walk around and made sure we took our time and did it right.

A club that was outscored 180-64 the previous 19 games instead saw an Angels bullpen fold in a manner that looked far too familiar to these bedraggled Orioles, who rallied for six runs in the seventh and eighth innings to avoid the record books and record a 10-6 victory over Ohtani’s Angels, their first since an Aug. 2 triumph at Yankee Stadium.

On that night, the last-place Orioles blew out the Yankees in a game marked by the appearance of an elusive grey tabby cat, who outfoxed security guards and danced atop the outfield fence, seemingly taunting the home team.

It turned out the joke was on the Orioles: They lost 16 consecutive games by multiple runs, a modern record, and with a staff filled with minimum-wage arms and a lineup dotted with waiver claims and newbies, the AL-record 21 straight losses to start the ’88 season by Baltimore looked well in reach, as well as the major league record of 23 straight losses by the 1961 Philadelphia Phillies.

Turns out that a boisterous crowd lured out by Ohtani – the 15,867 fans was the Orioles' largest weeknight home draw of the year and nearly double the 8,700 at Camden Yards a night earlier– instead found itself at an exorcism.

Ohtani had never given up multiple home runs in a game – but the Orioles slammed three off him. They still found themselves in a 6-2 hole entering the bottom of the fourth.

CEDRIC THE ENTERTAINER WITH A FIRST-PITCH SHOW! pic.twitter.com/7qZs1WX9eI

Not until the streak reached double digits did things get weird in the nether reaches of Camden Yards. Center fielder Cedric Mullins decided to shave his beard. The typically clean-shaven Mancini was shaving himself one day when he abruptly stopped.

"I hate having a mustache," says Mancini, "so as a form of self-punishment but also to keep things lighter, I told all the guys I’d shave it off when we won."

Trailing 6-5, Mancini led off the eighth with a solid single and then Angels relievers Jake Petricka – making his first major league appearance since 2019 – and James Hoyt aided and abetted the cause. Hoyt gave up a double to Anthony Santander, an intentional walk to DJ Stewart and then walked light-hitting shortstop Ramon Urias to force in the tying run. Hoyt walked Kelvin Gutierrez – batting .206 coming in – to force in the go-ahead run.

When pinch hitter Austin Hays narrowly missed a grand slam and pushed home two huge insurance runs with a double to the left field wall, the crowd erupted. It rose to its feet for the final out and when Anthony Santander hauled in a fly to right to end it, Mancini raised his arms in exultation. Hugs abounded throughout the diamond.

Shaking and crying a little. pic.twitter.com/bf1HQX8Z4v

And the Orioles clubhouse was “loud,” as Hyde put it, after the club returned to its sanctum. 

“I know it was going to look like the big two-oh today,” said All-Star outfielder Mullins, who started the night homering off Ohtani, “but we fought back.”

And found a light at the end of a very dark tunnel. The Orioles, now 39-86, are on pace for 111 losses and their third consecutive full season of at least 100 losses. Mancini is the only player on the big league roster for all of them, and he said Wednesday that the 115-loss 2018 season was a lower point than this 19-game losing streak. 

That '18 club had hope, beginning the season with Manny Machado at shortstop and ending it knowing an organizational shakeup and a grim rebuilding lurked around the corner.  

This club, and its manager, have been bearing the brunt of that rebuild, a process that leaves the Orioles outmanned almost every night. 

They never view defeat as inevitable, but the odds suggest something like this dastardly streak can happen. The odds also suggested they'd be overmatched by Ohtani, who brought a 2.79 ERA into the game and burgeoning momentum that the two-way star may yet add the AL Cy Young Award to his presumptive MVP trophy. 

Instead, they turned the tables, metaphysically and on the scoreboard.

“It’s a lot of relief, for sure. It’s been really, really difficult,” Hyde said. “We’re tired of seeing (the streak) on TV.

“An incredibly hard three weeks. These guys have dealt with a lot. Call it rebuilding or what you want, but it’s not fun to lose. You want to show your fans that the big league club is going to be fun to watch and there’s pieces coming. That’s what’s been disappointing.”

For a night, they finally found joy.     

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How to Snap a 19-Game Losing Streak

Sports Illustrated 27 August, 2021 - 12:00pm

Normally, bad things when your starter can’t retire leadoff hitters and your offense leaves people on base—but not tonight. Credit the sage, I guess.

Surprisingly, today Keegan Akin turned in his best start of 2021, and it wasn’t even close. Akin broke his 0-fer in 2021 with seven innings of one-run, six-strikeout baseball, Ohtani’s leadoff home run the only damage the Angels did against him all game.

This was extra surprising given that Akin failed to retire a single leadoff hitter through five innings. “Let the leadoff guy reach, then strike out a bunch of people to get out of the jam” is a pretty stupid game plan, ordinarily. Watching Akin execute it didn’t exactly fill you with confidence in the moment, but it’s definitely better than him flat-out sucking.

Akin’s stuff looked markedly improved today from past starts this year, too. He flirted with disaster in the second, pegging leadoff man Kurt Suzuki and giving up a “single” to leftfielder Jo Adell on a fly ball that’s probably a routine out for almost any competent outfielder—but not DJ Stewart, whose diving flop surely won’t beautify his defensive highlight reel or win him any more fans here in Baltimore. But then Akin rung up the next three hitters: “Captain Caveman,” Brandon Marsh (it really annoys me that someone would choose to wear that beard in August), shortstop Jack Mayfield and rightfielder Juan Lagares. Akin’s putaway fastball to Marsh: 95 mph, a number you don’t often see from the lefty. A sign of more to come?

Akin did the same thing in the third, the fourth, and again in the fifth, failing each time to retire the leadoff runner before drawing a bunch of quick outs to shut down the Angels’ offense.

Meanwhile, Akin’s counterpart, the big-boned Jaime Barria had thwarted the O’s offense for two innings, but the bats broke through to tie up the game in the third. Jahmai Jones drilled a fastball down the line for a leadoff double, his first-extra base hit. Kelvin Gutiérrez (or “Kevin,” if you’re listening closely to MASN’s Scott Garceau) showed a great approach in stroking an opposite-field RBI single. But he got greedy rounding first and was picked off. It was unfortunate because Cedric Mullins then dropped the perfect bunt to get aboard, stole second and took third a throwing error by Suzuki. Without the Gutiérrez TOOTBLAN, the AL’s No. 2 hits leader might still have scored on a two-out Santander grounder to first, but the Orioles had to settle for just one run.

I thought that “Short Akin Start; More RISP Failures” might be the story of this game, especially when they blew a golden opportunity off a flagging Barria in the fourth, as third-base coach Tony Mansolino sent the lead-footed Mancini home from second on a Ramón Urías single, just to be thrown out easily.

That was it for Peguero, but it was way worse for his replacement, Jake Petricka, who threw one pitch to Pedro Severino and surrendered a grand slam.

Suddenly, a game that had looked doomed for the Orioles became a laugher. Akin rolled through the sixth on four pitches. (That sentence has never been written: Akin’s previous longest start was 5 2/3 innings.) Then he rolled through the seventh, too.

There have been too many nights to count where the Orioles bullpen did unspeakable things and blew a game, but this afternoon, the only bullpen that flagged was the Angels’.

Austin Hays, pinch-hitting for Stewart in the seventh, doubled and scored the Orioles’ eighth run on a single by the reliable Urías.

Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Angels reliever James Hoyt allowed five runs on four hits (it could easily have been six hits, but the scorekeepers stingily rendered two sharp grounders from Mullins and Gutierrez as errors). Ryan Mountcastle took a second-and-third, no-outs opportunity and didn’t miss: a long single scored two runs. Then Hays, whom Ben McDonald has dubbed “Instant Offense,” singled, making him 2-for-2 as a pinch-hitter. With two outs, Urías doubled, scoring two more. Severino singled in the twelfth and thirteenth runs. As the smoke cleared, it was 13-1 Orioles, and it became clear this team was going to win this game, and the series.

Meanwhile, the “New Look” Jorge López did his part, too, pitching a great eighth and ninth innings, fastball a-blazing. His one blemish was a walk to Ohtani (but there are worse outcomes than that against Ohtani), and he struck out four of six he faced.

Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are on a winning streak

Camden Chat 27 August, 2021 - 06:00am

With two straight high-octane victories and a series win, the Birds are finally trending in the right direction. Now the schedule gets tough again.

Don’t look now, but the Orioles have won two games in a row. They just need 17 more and we can forgive them for these last couple of weeks.

In all seriousness, though, it’s nice to see the Birds finally look like a major league team again. The offense has been stellar, posting two consecutive double-digit run totals against the hapless Angels. And the pitching contributed yesterday as well, with Keegan Akin delivering an out-of-nowhere stellar outing, working seven innings with a Shohei Ohtani leadoff homer his only blemish. Andrea SK recapped the O’s rout, which sealed a series victory — their first in their last nine series — and made them the last team in the majors to reach the 40-win mark.

It’s good that the Birds got a couple wins under their belt, because now the schedule gets a whole lot tougher again, starting with a three-game weekend tilt against Tampa Bay. The Rays might as well be called “Angelos,” because they own the Orioles. They’ve won 15 of the 16 matchups between the two clubs this year, including all six at Camden Yards so far. After that comes a six-game road trip against two other tough AL East teams, the Blue Jays and scorching-hot Yankees.

Maybe the Orioles can carry some of the momentum from the last two days into these next few series. Perhaps the power of the sage can propel them to a handful of victories during this brutal upcoming stretch. At the very least, let’s hope for some more competitive Orioles baseball than we saw for most of the last three weeks. Ain’t nobody got time for another 19-game losing streak.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 29th birthday to current Oriole Spenser Watkins, who was a feel-good story by finally making his MLB debut after he thought his pro career might be finished (and even accepted a high school coaching job this past winter). And happy 51st birthday to Hall of Famer Jim Thome, who finished his outstanding career by playing 28 games for that magical 2012 Orioles club.

On this day in 1961, O’s lefty Milt Pappas had the best all-around game of his career, not only throwing a two-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts, but also hitting two home runs at the plate. Eat your heart out, Shohei Ohtani. Pappas’ standout performance led to a 3-0 O’s win over the Twins.

In 1970, Mike Cuellar became a 20-game winner for the second straight year, earning victory #20 with a complete game in a 6-4 decision over the Oakland A’s. Frank Robinson blasted two home runs to lead the offense as the Orioles extended their AL East lead to 12 games.

And on this date in 1973, the Orioles’ 6-1 win over the Rangers gave them a 14-game winning streak, the longest in the American League in 13 years. Mike Cuellar again played a prominent role by throwing a complete game, giving up 10 hits but no earned runs, while Bobby Grich and Earl Williams homered. The O’s lost the next day, but their 14-game win streak remains the longest in franchise history. I think it’s time for the Orioles to change that soon, don’t you?

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