Miguel Gonzalez was not at his sharpest against the Red Sox, but managed to grind his way through nearly six innings to keep the O's in the ballgame. T.J. McFarland came on in relief and actually pitched well until he imploded in the ninth inning, allowing four runs and essentially putting the game well out of reach.
Matt Wieters hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning, but it didn't really matter at that point. In fact, it's amazing to me how many home runs Wieters seems to hit in situations where the game is already decided. He has a couple of walk-off winners in his career, but many of his home runs seem to come in games where the Orioles are either winning or losing by a lot of runs.
Wieters is hitting just .236 but is hardly the only problem at the moment. Nick Markakis is a .280 hitter with absolutely no power or ability to drive in any runs, and that problem is compounded by the fact that Buck Showalter continues to put him high in the lineup.
In fact, a lot of the problems this year come back to poor decisions by the manager. He had Chris Davis, his best hitter, sitting at fourth or fifth in the lineup for much of the season. That makes no sense. He also continued to use Jim Johnson despite the fact that he was getting beat like a pinata on nightly basis. Showalter had the magic touch with lineup decisions and pitching changes last year, but it's been the complete opposite in 2013.
With the two straight losses, the Orioles are now in a perilous position heading into the series finale.
The Rays have now tied the Red Sox at the top of the AL East while the O's have fallen even further behind in the division and wild card races. A sweep at the hands of the Rays would put them yet another game behind in the AL East and possibly wild card races with just over 30 games remaining.
When you start doing the math, it would take a significant collapse by both AL East teams and the Orioles finishing strong against the toughest schedule in baseball the rest of the way for Baltimore to sneak into the playoffs. In all reality, the season would pretty much be over barring a miraculous run.
If the O's can take the series finale from the Rays, things still wouldn't look great, but they wouldn't be nearly as bleak. It would be a two-game swing that would at least keep them within striking distance with just over a month of baseball left to play. It would also give fans a reason to tune in and continue to fill the stands at Camden Yards for at least another week or two, provided the team doesn't lose more games and fall further behind.