Shohei Ohtani, Angels out to send Orioles to 20th straight loss

MLB Baseball

The Baltimore Orioles haven’t had many breaks during their 19-game losing streak.

They will face another major challenge on Wednesday in their bid to avoid the longest skid in the majors since the Montreal Expos lost 20 straight in 1969.

Los Angeles Angels right-hander Shohei Ohtani is scheduled to start on the mound in the second game of the three-game series in Baltimore.

Ohtani (8-1, 2.79 ERA) has pitched consistently well all season while building up his endurance over the last two months.

He went eight innings for the first time in his major league career in his last start, allowing one run and six hits with eight strikeouts and no walks in a 3-1 road win over the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 18.

Ohtani has thrown between 86 and 99 pitches in each of his past six outings, with nearly flawless results.

After going 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA in three starts in July, Ohtani is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three starts this month.

Toss in his best-in-the-majors 40 home runs as a hitter, and Ohtani continues to impress across the league.

“It’s incredible to see what he’s doing,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said after watching Ohtani pitch and homer in the game last week. “He’s just a real big piece of why baseball is great.”

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde will be in the opposing dugout on Wednesday, undoubtedly hoping his team can turn things around in any way possible.

Baltimore fell behind 13-2 in the series opener on Tuesday before cutting the deficit to five and eventually losing 14-8. The Orioles matched the longest losing streak in the majors since the Kansas City Royals dropped 19 straight in 2005.

“This is incredibly challenging and a huge gut check,” Hyde said after the latest loss.

Hyde has an admirer in the other dugout.

Angels manager Joe Maddon told reporters before Tuesday’s game that he has the “utmost respect” for how the third-year Baltimore manager has handled the challenges of this season.

Though his teams have never endured a losing streak as long as Baltimore’s, Maddon finished 50 games under .500 in his first full season with Tampa Bay in 2006 and 30 games under in 2007 before guiding the Rays to the World Series in 2008.

“You have to understand and tell yourself, ‘Don’t take it personally,'” Maddon said. “It’s not personal. It’s just where (the Orioles) are at developmentally and about the players you have. When you take it personally, you can lose your confidence and lose your way, meaning you can start getting angry, but it’s not about anger. It should never be angry.

“It’s a teachable moment. Hyder is the right man for the job.”

Hyde did not name a starting pitcher for the Wednesday game but said he planned to “mix and match” during the game.

His starter on Tuesday, rookie right-hander Spenser Watkins, lasted just two-plus innings, his shortest of his nine starts this season.

Hyde had to go to the bullpen earlier than he hoped, but that’s where the Orioles continue to impress lately.

Fernando Abad threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Tuesday, his longest outing since he made six starts in 2012.

In the three-game series against the Atlanta Braves last weekend, Baltimore relievers allowed one run in 10 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media

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