Orioles’ playoff chances slipping away


The Baltimore Orioles got another quality start out of their starting pitcher with Scott Feldman‘s effort yesterday afternoon in Tampa. Feldman’s line: 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Unfortunately, Oriole bats let Feldman down in the Orioles’ 3-1 loss. It goes without saying that Tampa’s hitters wear out opposing pitchers down the stretch in games. However I’ve jokingly said that their pitchers seem to wear opposing hitters down also. And it’s true to a point. On Friday the Birds had the bases loaded with nobody out, and they managed only one run. On both Saturday and Sunday they were held scoreless until the ninth inning of the game.

David DeJesus led the game off for Tampa with a home run, and the O’s trailed from the get go. However Feldman held Tampa off the board again until the sixth, when they put the first two runners on base. Feldman proceeded to toss a wild pitch, leaving two runners in scoring position. Again, that’s kind of the effect that Tampa has on a team. They’re so spry and so agile, and furthermore they’ll do anything. Manager Joe Maddon admitted as much on an interview with FOX Sports prior to Saturday’s game. Nevertheless, Matt Joyce hit a sac fly to Michael Morse in left field, and Will Myers’ RBI-single gave Tampa a 3-0 lead.

Courtesy of Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles finally put one across in the ninth when Matt Wieters ripped an RBI-double following a Danny Valencia single. (Valencia went to second on defensive indifference.) Tampa’s now taken the first three games of this series, leaving the O’s 4.5 games back of the final wild card spot with seven games to play. The Birds need to start winning and winning quickly, however they would also need some help. Not only has that been a tough thing to get for the Orioles, however Tampa plays NY this week which almost works out as a wash in the standings regardless of who wins.

One thing that we’ll cover here on Birds Watcher over the course of the off season is the quality of this 2013 Oriole team. Currently they sit at 81 wins, needing only one more to have a winning record for the second consecutive year. So if you’re interpreting the win total literally, I suppose they took a step backwards this season. However I would submit that the quality of the team year-over-year was about the same. Again, this will be covered ad hoc in the off season, however while the O’s stood pat it appears that some of the competition around them improved (the Cleveland’s, Boston’s, and Tampa’s of the world).

The series with Tampa is what they call a “wrap-around series” in that it includes a Monday matinee` this afternoon. Wei-Yin Chen gets the ball for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Chris Archer of Tampa. The Orioles are hoping that they can wake up their bats in a last-ditch effort to make a push for the post season, of course also hoping for some sort of help from a few other teams.