It’s interesting how trends seem to work in baseball. The Baltimore Orioles have been outscored 69-40 in the sixth inning thus far in 2013. However if there’s a guy that one might think would be possible of breaking that mold, it would be someone like Scott Feldman who’s new to the team. However a six-run sixth inning did Feldman in last night, as the Orioles dropped the series opener against Texas, 8-5. Feldman’s line: 5.1 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 2 K. However let’s not totally pin this on the starting pitcher; the Orioles also went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. That almost defies logic in a sense, as three base runners is generally supposed to net one run. Apparently that’s not the case for the Orioles, be it last night or overall.
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With Texas leading 2-0 in the fourth, the Birds struck to take the lead. With runners at the corners Brian Roberts reached on an error which scored J.J. Hardy and Nate McLouth. Roberts himself was plated on Manny Machado‘s RBI-single, and the Orioles took a 3-2 lead. The Orioles would proceed to load the bases, however Matt Wieters struck out to end the inning. As I said above, Texas put up six in the sixth inning to suddenly take an 8-3 lead over the O’s. The O’s did put up a small rally in the last of the seventh when Adam Jones reached base on a passed ball (after striking out), and Matt Wieters sent a 2-2 pitch over the wall to bring the O’s to within 8-5. However that was the best that the Orioles could muster, and it ended up being the final score.
First off let’s not forget that Texas is a good team, and they’ve been a thorn in the Orioles’ side for some time. (This is the franchise that beat the O’s in the infamous 30-3 game years ago,) However quite frankly the 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position stands out at me more so than any of Feldman’s stats. Not producing with runners in scoring position is akin to consistently not scoring on a power play in ice hockey. That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison, but it’s all I have! Nobody’s saying that it’s imperative to be 100% with RISP, however I think that most Orioles fans would prefer something more than 1-for-12.
If you recall, the O’s had a pretty rough stretch last season leading up to the all-star break. In dropping five of their last seven, it appears that they might be going through a similar phase now as well. But again we can’t forget that a 162-game schedule is a marathon. This isn’t the NFL where losing two straight games can put you in some hot water since they only play 16 games. Texas is also a team (similar to NY) that is playing over their heads – if preseason predictions are to be believed. They lost the likes of Josh Hamilton in the off season, but now that appears to be addition by subtraction. And furthermore they have who I believe to be the most underrated manager in the league (Ron Washington) on their side. The series continues tonight with Zach Britton taking to the mound for the Birds. He’ll be opposed by Martin Perez of Texas.