Before tonight, the Orioles have been on the receiving end of some blowouts.
On June 26, 1978, the Orioles, on their way to a 90 win season (but 4th place finish,) faced the lowly second year Toronto Blue Jays at old Exhibition stadium. Earl Weaver was facing a difficult situation.
But desperate circumstances required desperate measures. At Exhibition Stadium on June 26, 1978, the Blue Jays, in their second big-league season, scored 24 runs, the most ever scored against the Orioles in one game.
The Orioles were down 19-6 in the fifth inning when Weaver, who was trying to conserve pitchers for a doubleheader the following day, sent for Harlow, an outfielder who had pitched one inning in the minors in 1971. Weaver later said Harlow claimed ownership of a slider, and was “throwing the ball at 92 miles an hour on our gun.”
Perhaps, but Harlow only lasted two-thirds of an inning, yielding five earned runs, two hits and four walks and striking out one Blue Jay.
The score stood at 24-6 and Weaver needed someone to put an end to the fifth inning. He called the bullpen and got Hendricks, the former catcher who was on the roster as player-coach that season. Hendricks had thrown batting practice that year, but that was the extent of his pitching experience.
The game might have ended badly, 24 – 10, for the Orioles, but it ended well for Hendricks.
Former ace Jim Palmer watched it from the dugout. Asked to account for Hendricks’ effectiveness, Palmer says, “Either Elrod had his good stuff that night or they just got tired.”
Hendricks suggests the latter.
“They got themselves out,” he says.
Palmer recalls that Hendricks used a little neck jerk motion reminiscent of changeup artist Stu Miller. “They swung at the neck twitch,” Palmer says. “It seemed like they could have swung twice” by the time the ball crossed the plate.
When Hendricks’ pitching debut was over, his ERA a tidy 0.00 and right-hander Don Stanhouse on the mound to finish the game, Weaver approached Hendricks and “he said, ‘Nice job.’ I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, but don’t think about it again.’ . . . I’d like to say it was fun but it really wasn’t.”
He says he would rather forget. But that’s not Palmer’s version.
“Heck, no,” Palmer says. “The next day we went down to get the papers and there were none left. Elrod had bought them all.”
(For a happier memory of an Oriole-Blue Jay game, see here for the famous John Lowenstein playing third-Lenn Sakata catching game from 1983.)
In another good season, 1996 – when the Orioles were headed to the playoffs – the Orioles suffered another lopsided defeat at the hands of tonight’s opponent, the Texas Rangers, allowing 16 runs in the 8th inning losing 26 – 7. Here’s a description of what happened …
But it was not a good day for the Baltimore staff. They were already down 10-7 when Armando Benitez came on to start the eighth. Benitez promptly gave up a single, a stolen base, a walk, a wild pitch, and another walk. Thinking they might still have a remote chance, the Orioles pulled Benitez and gave the ball to Jesse Orosco. He managed to retire one of the nine batters he faced. At this point, infielder Manny Alexander was summoned to finish up, and he walked the first three hitters. After a sacrifice fly and another walk, Kevin Elster capped it off with a grand slam before Darryl Hamilton recorded the final out on a (sympathy?) ground ball to second. Texas residents would have been forgiven if they thought the final score of 26-7 was really from a Cowboys game.
In that inglorious effort, the Orioles issued eight walks. Five were given up by a shortstop, however, so it doesn’t really qualify as one of the worst control failures of this period. That honor goes to the Oakland A’s of 1979, who walked 8 Angels in one inning on the fourth of July and managed to do so without using any non-pitchers.
(Hmm. There were an awful lot of one-time Mets in that game, including the bullpen – Orosco, McDowell and Myers – from the 1985 World Champions.)
Tonight all the damage was done against Orioles pitchers as the Texas Rangers scored 30 runs.
The Texas Rangers became the first team in 110 years to score 30 runs in a game, setting an American League record Wednesday in a 30-3 rout of the Orioles.
Trailing 3-0 in the opener of a doubleheader, the Rangers scored five runs in the fourth, nine in the sixth, 10 in the eighth and six in the ninth.
It was the ninth time a major league team scored 30 runs, the first since Chicago set the major league scoring record in a 36-7 rout of Louisville in a National League game on June 28, 1897, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
I guess the silver lining is that it’s nice to make history. But most would rather it be for something positive.
I think that acting decisively towards Trembley was a good idea. (I don’t share Maese’s hesitation.) However I’m glad they did it yesterday. If they’d been planning an announcement tomorrow, it would have been pretty difficult to pull off in the face of such an embarrassing defeat.
(Tonight’s game featured two grand slams for Texas. The Orioles and Rangers have another interesting game between them. August 6, 1986 the two teams set a major league record by hitting 3 grand slams between them. The Orioles hit two of them. But they still lost 13 – 11. At the time the Orioles had been respectable and were only 2 1/2 games out of first place. That game started a tailspin that saw the Orioles fall to last place for the first time in franchise history and their first losing season since 1967.)
Roch Kubato has second thoughts.
A quick hit from Inside Charm City.
Some thoughts from Oriole Post.
Sigh, in the nightcap the Orioles are losing by a rather pedestrian 6 – 4.
UPDATE: Baseball Tonight notes the many crazy things that have happened this week in baseball.
Texas sets a double header record, scoring 39 combined runs.
Texas kept right on hitting in the second game, too, although at a decidedly tamer pace. Travis Metcalf drove in four runs and the Rangers used a three-run eighth for a 9-7 victory and a sweep.
Texas set an AL record for runs in a doubleheader, surpassing the 36 scored by Detroit in 1937.
Crossposted on Soccer Dad.
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