Heading into Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Baltimore Orioles had a chance to tie an unenviable record held by the 1924 Philadelphia Phillies, and the struggling Ubaldo Jimenez sealed the deal with yet another rough start.
After Jimenez allowed his fifth run by the second inning, the Orioles became the first team to allow five or more earned runs in 20 consecutive games in 93 years.
Jimenez would go on to be charged with nine earned runs on seven hits and four walks, while retiring just seven batters – but that’s extra-curricular to the aforementioned record.
The Orioles’ stretch of pitching futility, which dates back to June 3 against the Boston Red Sox, has seen the team go 6-13 – a record that will slide to 6-14 barring a comeback from a 9-2 deficit on Friday at the hands of the division-rival Rays.
Regardless of Friday’s outcome, Jimenez’s season ERA went from an already terrible 6.25 to a nearly unfathomable 7.26. That would put Jimenez in the company of Bronson Arroyo and teammate Kevin Gausman for the worst ERAs of the 2017 season thus far.
Following the conclusion of Thursday’s games, the Orioles’ starting staff ranked second-last in the majors with a 5.61 ERA, only behind the lowly Cincinnati Reds, and Jimenez’s start will push that number even higher.
Somewhat amazingly, despite all of their pitching adversity, the Orioles find themselves just five games back of the division-leading New York Yankees in the AL East.
On Saturday, the Orioles will send Dylan Bundy and his 3.72 ERA to the hill in an attempt to avoid making dubious history. Over Bundy’s last two starts, the 24-year-old has allowed 11 runs – 10 earned – on 12 hits and six walks over just 9 1/3 innings.