It was not a matter of “if”, but “when”. All good things must come to an end. And other cliches. Today, the Orioles finally lost a game when leading after seven innings for the first time in 110 games, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The Orioles led 6-4 over the Rays heading into the ninth. Closer Jim Johnson had his 35-game consecutive save streak end on Tuesday, when the Padres scored two runs in the top of the ninth to eke out a 3-2 victory. Johnson once again did not have his stuff today, as he would be shellacked for five runs on two walks and three hits (including a Kelly Johnson solo home run) as the Rays hung a six-spot in the ninth en route to a 10-6 win, ending the Orioles’ illustrious streak.
The loss is the fourth in a row and the sixth in eight games for the slumping O’s. With the Yankees winning again, they drop to 3.5 games out of first in the AL East.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.