Tonight the Orioles look for a win against the Cardinals, after a tough 6-2 loss last night. Zach Britton took his 6th loss of the season (against 6 wins). Britton gave up three runs in the second inning on three straight two-out singles with runners in scoring position. The Cardinals are leading the National League in batting average with runners in scoring position (by the way, the Orioles used to lead their league in the same stat, but have cooled way off in that department).
This evening’s pitching match-up matches two right- handers, Chris Carpenter versus Chris Jakubauskas. Carpenter’s win-loss record is not good (2-7). But from everything I have read, he is pitching well, just not getting the breaks (sounds a lot like our own Jeremy Guthrie). Carpenter’s ERA is 4.26, but in his last start against the Phillies, he went 7 innings and gave up only one run and stuck out 7. Last night the O’s could only muster four hits and no runs against starter Kyle Lohse in five innings – so let’s hope that the offense can do better against Carpenter.
To counter veteran Carpenter, the O’s will send out Jakubauskas. ‘Jack’ (as manager Buck Showalter calls him), has done a pretty good job as a fill-in starter. He is 2-0, but has a high ERA (5.18). In his last start, Jack gave up 3 runs in 5 innings against the hot-hitting reds. The biggest issue with Jakubauskas is that he has not gone more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his starts. Most of his work has been as a reliever, so the O’s can’t really expect a complete game. The bullpen has been taxed recently, with starters not getting close to the 7th inning. It would be great if the O’s offense could score more than 2 runs, and take some of the pressure off of the pitching staff. But that’s not going to be easy against a tough starter like Carpenter.
And now…a section I call “Talking O’s Fans Down off the Ledge”
I, like all of you Orioles fans, take every lose hard. I feel like the team should be doing better. But then I have to remember that we ARE doing better. Not compared to the Red Sox, Yankees or Rays, but compared to ourselves – ourselves one year ago. On 6/28/2010 the Orioles were:
23-52 (.307) 24 games behind the Red Sox. 15-23 at home, 8-29 on the road, 262 runs scored and 400 scored against.
In 6/28/2010 the Orioles are:
35-40 (.467), 9.5 games behind the Yankees. 22-19 at home, 13-21 on the road, 313 runs scored and 359 scored against.
I know that continually being in last place stinks. It’s hard for us fans. But let’s not lose site that the Orioles are building a team – particular in the area of starting pitching. Jake Arrieta is 25. Zach Britton is 23. Brian Matusz is 24. And you have young starters still working it out in the minors (Chris Tillman). So, I, like you, have to remember how much better we are this year than last. And that in another year or two, we SHOULD have a team that can contend in this league. That’s the plan and we just have to be patient as it plays out. Go to some games and enjoy the atmosphere. Your team IS getting better.