If the Orioles’ offense was a person, it would be safe to say that it had a very bad cold at the moment. So I suppose someone needs to go to the drug store for some cold medicine in a sense! The Orioles were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position in last night’s 7-3 loss to the L.A. Angels (of Anaheim, in California, on the west coast of the USA, on planet earth, in the milky way galaxy). In fairness Anaheim was that same 1-for-8, however when you’re able to drive in runs at will that isn’t an issue. I suppose that one could argue that the good news is that the O’s had seven base hits in the game. I’ve said this before however the bats will slowly start to come back, and it starts with getting hits and getting on base.
Brian Matusz gave up 13 hits and five runs, only making it through the fifth inning. Matusz is struggling with his fastball command right now, as is evidenced by the fact that he isn’t fooling anyone. At one point he was able to throw a backup slider or a “get-me-over curve ball” at will, however eventually those pitches will cease to impress big league hitters. In fairness however, the Orioles did get some traffic on the base paths in the fourth inning but Mark Reynolds popped up and Wilson Betemit grounded out. I think that had the Orioles put more than one run on the board through five innings perhaps Matusz might have lasted one more in an attempt to get him a win or at least a no decision.
The Orioles are struggling with situational hitting right now, however the good news is that the home run power is slowly starting to return to the bats. Again, most people are going to look at this and say that the Birds can’t score without the long ball. They might well be right, however in slumps like this you have to start somewhere. The Orioles got a solo homer from Steve Pearce in the fifth, and a two-run homer from Wilson Betemit in the 8th. Those three runs are more than the Orioles scored in any of the three games with Washington over the weekend, however of course they won two-of-three of those games. Again if there’s any silver lining, you can look at the fact that Pearce, Steve Tolleson, and Robert Andino all were able to reach base in this game. If those guys can continue those trends, when the bats of Jones, Wieters, et al come around the O’s will have some decent production.
Let’s give a little bit of credit to Anaheim also; Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjols, and John Hester all homered in this game. Furthermore, CJ Wilson pitched a gem of a ballgame. That’s really been the constant through this recent “cold” for the Oriole offense; they’ve faced a murderer’s row of pitchers. In face, the O’s started getting on base more often once Wilson left the game. This is not to excuse the poor situational hitting by any means, however we should keep in mind that it isn’t exactly pushover pitchers that the Orioles are facing.
I wouldn’t expect there to be many runs scored in tonight’s game overall, as Jason Hammel takes the ball only to be opposed by Anaheim’s Jered Weaver. Hammel pitched eight innings of five-hit ball on Friday night against Washington, in a game won by the Orioles 2-1. Weaver came off of the DL last week and didn’t appear to skip a beat, pitching six shutout innings against San Francisco. (He was only lifted in the sixth because he was on a pitch limit after his injury.) At some point the Oriole bats will break out again…one can only hope that they pay a visit to a pharmacy on their way to the ballpark tonight.
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