The Orioles not only lost the series opener against the Los Angeles Angels Friday night, but they lost Luke Scott for the rest of the season.
After being activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday’s game, Scott went 0-for-3 and would not have batted in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss had his spot in the order come to the plate. The left-handed hitter once again experienced pain in his right shoulder after deciding he would take one more trial to play through the pain of a torn labrum before electing to undergo surgery or a season-ending rehabilitation program.
“Luke’s been a tough guy. A lot of guys would have flown the coop, and he wanted to play,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He knew it was something he was going to have to do, anyway. I applaud him for that, for the ‘want-to.’ It’s not fair for the Orioles or for Luke to proceed down this path anymore.”
Prior to the game, Scott said he planned to play the next three to five days to gauge whether he could continue playing or would need to forgo the rest of the season and decide on a course of action for the shoulder.
Showalter said Scott would likely go back on the disabled list Saturday with outfielder Matt Angle possibly being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk. No decision has been made on the route Scott will choose to treat the injured right shoulder, but it was becoming more apparent he would not make it through the remainder of the season.
“I know what he’s been battling through all year,” said catcher Matt Wieters following the game. “Hopefully, it gets healed and gets back to where we know Luke can be. Whatever is going to be best for him and best for his family is what we want him to do. We just want to get him healthy.”
Scott had been on the disabled list since July 5 before being activated for Friday’s game. He is hitting just .220 with nine home runs and 22 runs batted in after being named the Orioles’ most valuable player in 2010.
Simon says not bad at all
Given the Orioles’ starting pitching woes — particularly over the last six weeks — who would have thought Alfredo Simon would provide the best back-to-back starts the club has seen in recent memory.
Coming off a strong seven-inning performance in a win over Cleveland last Saturday, Simon allowed two runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings against the Angels. The 30-year-old struck out three and walked one despite taking the loss with only one run of support behind him. Simon threw a season-high 96 pitches after working in relief until July 9.
“He gave us a really good chance to win,” Showalter said. “I was pleased with his performance again. Had him maybe a tick above where we had hoped to take him with pitches and everything. We should be in position to turn him loose now.”
His start marked the fourth time in the last six games that Baltimore starters have pitched at least six innings, no small feat for a rotation that’s pitched six innings or more just seven times in the last 23 games.
Simon completed six scoreless innings before allowing doubles to Mike Trout and Maicer Izturis in the seventh inning, which gave the Angels a 1-0 lead. Jason Berken replaced Simon with two outs, surrendering a Torii Hunter double to plate Izturis and close the book on the starter.
“I just tried to focus every inning that I go out, try to get a zero,” Simon said. “But the last inning that I threw, I got [in a jam] with Izturis with a man on second. It was 3-1 and I didn’t want to walk the guy, so I just threw a fastball to him and he just got a hit, and that’s part of the game. I just threw a good game, but we didn’t hit too good tonight. That’s part of the game, and I understand that.”
With no disrespect to Simon, it’s a sad state of affairs for the Orioles to be depending on Simon as one of their most reliable starters, but the veteran has done a commendable job with the opportunity.
Whatever it takes
Whenever the Orioles hit, they can’t get anyone out.
And whenever they manage to pitch effectively, the Orioles can’t push runs across the plate.
Of course, they’ve been unable to do either on far too many nights as well.
Despite consecutive quality starts by Jake Arrieta and Simon, the Orioles have scored just one run and collected five hits over their last 18 innings.
Angels starter Ervin Santana stifled the Orioles over 7 2/3 innings, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning and holding them to just one run on a J.J. Hardy run-scoring single in the eighth inning. The right-hander collected his first road victory since April 29.
For the Orioles, it was another wasted opportunity.
“It’s tough because we’ve gotten some good starts out of those two games, and when the starters give you a good outing, you want to go out there and get them a win,” Wieters said. “That’s baseball. It’s not going to work like that every time.
“It seems like when we’re hitting well, we can’t quite pitch well; when we’re pitching well, we can’t quite score enough runs.”
To quote a historical figure, “By any means necessary,” right?
Odds & ends
The Angels’ win snapped the Orioles’ six-game winning streak against Los Angeles. … The Orioles committed two errors after committing just one error in their previous nine games. Derrek Lee’s ninth-inning miscue opened the door for Kevin Gregg to allow a grand slam to Vernon Wells with two outs in the ninth inning, turning a 2-1 nailbiter into an insurmountable five-run deficit in the final frame. … Friday’s game-time temperature was 104 degrees. It marked the second-highest temperature at Camden Yards in the last 15 years, the highest being a 105-degree roaster against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 6, 1999.
Listen to Buck Showalter, Alfredo Simon, and Matt Wieters following the 6-1 loss as well as Luke Scott’s comments about his injured right shoulder prior to Friday night’s game right here.