07/04/10 12:52 AM ET
Frustrated O's can't get on track vs. Red Sox
Guthrie struggles, Samuel ejected in loss at Fenway Park
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
The emotionally-charged, and at times, embarrassingly sloppy game by the Orioles saw interim manager Juan Samuel get ejected, Baltimore's defense continue its downward spiral, and starter Jeremy Guthrie sink deeper into a funk, eclipsing a 10-loss mark that is tops in the American League.
About the only thing that went the O's way in a 9-3 series-defeat to the Red Sox was Jake Fox's two-run ninth-inning homer. And even that had to be overturned, as the umpire crew at Fenway Park initially gave Fox an RBI double before amending the call and restoring some respectability to the visiting dugout.
"We didn't play defensively like a big league team," Nick Markakis said of an Orioles club with nine errors in their past five games, including four straight multi-miscue nights. "We made bonehead plays."
And Samuel wasted little time letting his team know that, holding a closed-door meeting in which several players attested there was no yelling. But as one player so aptly put it, Samuel definitely got his point across.
"He played the game one way, and when he sees the game not being played the way he played or the way it should be played, I think he gets frustrated -- as he should," said center fielder Adam Jones.
Jones, who hit into an inning-ending double play to end the first and cause Samuel to start barking, watched from center field as the club's interim manager gave home-plate umpire Mike Everitt a piece of his mind.
Samuel was arguing in the eighth inning from the top step of the dugout with Everitt gesturing for Samuel to stay on the steps. The shouting escalated and Samuel came out of the visiting dugout after he was tossed -- with reliever Frank Mata in a 3-0 count to David Ortiz -- and proceeded to get in Everitt's face.
"I've never really seen him get that mad," Jones said of Samuel. "I've seen frustration when he was the third-base coach. There's certain things you can do and say. But I think he was frustrated with how we played rather than the inning and everything else."
There was plenty to be frustrated about. Saturday's game had failed double plays, a pair of errors, dismal relief pitching and an increasingly common disappointing start from Guthrie. And in what is becoming an increasingly common scenario, the Orioles put an opposing pitcher on the ropes early -- this time lefty Jon Lester -- only to allow him to wiggle free.
When asked point-blank if he was satisfied with his team's effort, Samuel said "not tonight."
"It's been good [previously], don't get me wrong," he said. "But we need to show up every day and play a professional ballgame."
Early on, it looked as if the Orioles were finally going to break Lester's hex. But after pitching out of a bases-loaded jam with Jones' double-play ball, Lester allowed three hits and tossed seven innings of one-run baseball for his 12th straight win over Baltimore.
"His two-seamer had so much depth at times it was hard to tell," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of Lester, who is 12-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 15 career starts against the O's. "[He has] a great changeup and threw a lot of strikes. He was strong."
The only run the Orioles mustered off Lester came in the fifth, when Matt Wieters belted a leadoff double and scored on Patterson's two-out RBI single to close the gap to three runs. The Red Sox responded by scoring two more in the fifth, chasing Guthrie from the game before he could record an out.
"[I] just didn't pitch well," said Guthrie, who has taken the loss in six of his past seven starts, pitching to a 6.17 ERA over that span.
Unusually short in his postgame remarks, Guthrie agreed Saturday's performance -- his shortest stint since July 7, 2009 -- was his worst start this season.
He exited the 100-pitch outing after allowing six earned runs on nine hits and three walks over four-plus innings. Guthrie faced three batters in the fifth before being replaced by reliever Matt Albers, who tossed two scoreless innings.
"It was [a] different Jeremy Guthrie [tonight] than what we've seen in the past," Samuel said.
The past is exactly where the Orioles will want to put Saturday's loss, which drops them to 23-56 after 80 games, mirroring the mark of the franchise-worst 107-loss squad of 1988.
"There was some sloppy plays [on Saturday]," Jones said. "We've addressed it. We are Major Leaguers. We are better than what we've shown. No we got to go out and prove it."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.