Three Baltimore Orioles made the All Star starting lineup, more than any other team, and other most circumstances, that would cheer people up.
Somehow, though, I’m sensing a deflated mood in Mudville. With tonight’s loss to the Texas Rangers, the Orioles have lost six of eight since sweeping the Yankees at Camden Yards two weekends ago. Brian Roberts is 4 for 28 since coming back from the DL, but something tells me Buck Showalter sticks with him for a while longer. Chris Davis is in a 1-for-21 funk in his last six games, but I’ll say Showalter sticks with him, too.
The Orioles were 1 for 12 with runners in scoring position in Monday night’s loss, and only slightly better tonight despite a 2-run single by J.J. Hardy that brought them to within 5-4 in the 5th inning. The team is 6-6 when scoring five runs a game; 25-7 when scoring six or more. But needing six or more to win puts too much pressure on the offense. The pitching is of course failing if it allows five or more a game.
The standings are going to fluctuate like the condiment race on the scoreboard for the rest of the season. Just like last year, provided any given team is within five games of the lead by the end of August, the season doesn’t even start until September. For some perspective, and I know it’s been said before, Toronto is 10 games out. The O’s began August of last year 10 out and 2 above .500, and made the playoffs.
That was because of an amazing stretch of 1-run wins combined with Yankee losses in August, and because Manny Machado and Nate McLouth joined the team and tightened up the defense, which advanced the pitching. The main concern now is home runs allowed – a major league-worst 120 including the two by Adrian Beltre tonight – because the defense is already the best in the league.
The best news in a long time from an Oriole standpoint is that Wei-Yin Chen comes off the DL to draw Wednesday’s start, his first assignment since May 12. May his oblique muscle give him no further problem from here on out. This team needs someone to anchor its staff in the worst way. It also needs someone not to give Beltre anything to hit. Just a suggestion.