The third inning of Wednesday night’s game against the Athletics was a nightmare for the Orioles. The A’s put 11 consecutive runners on base and hung up a 10-spot in the frame against starter Andrew Cashner and reliever Cody Carroll. Here’s how it went down:
- Nick Martini single
- Jonathan Lucroy single
- Ramon Laureano walk
- Matt Chapman two-run double (2-0)
- Jed Lowrie RBI single (3-0)
- Khris Davis RBI single (4-0)
- Matt Olson three-run home run (7-0)
- Stephen Piscotty single [Andrew Cashner is then replaced by Cody Carroll]
- Marcus Semien walk
- Nick Martini single
- Jonathan Lucroy two-run single (9-0)
- Ramon Laureano pop out
- Matt Chapman RBI single (10-0)
- Jed Lowrie fly out
- Khris Davis strike out
For those counting at home, that inning featured eight singles, two walks, a double, and a homer.
The Orioles were already the laughingstock at the league, entering Wednesday’s action with a 41-103 record. With another loss tonight, they would be on pace to finish the season 46-116. 116 losses would rank as the fourth-most in the modern era (1900 to present). The 1962 Mets went 40-120, the 2003 Tigers went 43-119, and the 1916 Philadelphia Athletics went 36-117. A .284 winning percentage, which is what a 46-116 record comes out to, would rank as the 15th-worst in the modern era.
The O’s also entered Wednesday with a -242 run differential, which is obviously up to -252 after that disastrous third inning. That already ranks as the 11th-worst run differential in the era of the 162-game season. If we say the O’s lose 10-0 tonight [Update: they did], they would be on pace for a -282 run differential, which would be the sixth-worst in the 162-game season era. The record in a 162-game season is -337 by the ’03 Tigers.
The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal and Zach Buchanan report that the Diamondbacks are one of several teams that have used labs other than the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory in Utah to process COVID-19 testing. MLB has encountered delays with its testing, despite promising 24-hour turnaround time, so teams have tried other avenues — with the league’s endorsement — in order to get faster results.
The SMRTL had processed performance-enhancing drug screenings for MLB. The league converted it to process COVID-19 tests amid concerns that having a season and all of the testing that would be required throughout would take away testing resources from the general public. That some teams are utilizing labs other than the SMRTL suggests the league, indeed, is usurping those resources.
In prospect Seth Beer’s case, he tested positive for COVID-19. He needed to test negative twice consecutively to be cleared to return to play. Beer went to a third-party site in the Phoenix area. He received his second negative test and was cleared to return on July 9.
The Diamondbacks said that the labs they have used have assured them that they are not taking away tests from the public. That seems like a claim MLB and the D-Backs should demonstrably prove. Per Rosenthal and Buchahan, the D-Backs have gone to an outside lab about 20 times, which accounts for less than one percent of COVID-19 tests taken by players and staff. Still, those are 20 tests that could have been used by the general public. And if the D-Backs and a handful of other teams already are using outside labs, then the rest of the league likely already is or soon will be doing the same. In the end, there will be a lot more than 20 tests taken at outside labs by MLB players and staff. Considering that “Tier 1” players will be tested every other day throughout the season, the total of third-party tests taken — if things continue the way they are now — could easily reach into the thousands by the end of October.
We all want baseball back, but the players, coaches, and all other staff are no more important than cashiers, teachers, and delivery drivers, so they shouldn’t have more access to COVID-19 testing simply by virtue of being associated with Major League Baseball and all of its influence and financial muscle. It would be unethical for MLB to be cutting in line ahead of other people who need testing just as much as if not more than the players.