The Baltimore Orioles fell 5-3 to Toronto, in a series where they got decent starting pitching but the bats once again couldn’t hack it.
It may not be overly surprising that the Baltimore Orioles are starting to have some issues at the plate. Going into the season there were a lot of questions about the pitching, but not so much about the bats. And rightfully so in a way. However I suspect what none of us expected was that the bats would start to peter out.
162 games is a long stretch, and it goes even beyond that. Teams start doing drills in February and they start playing games in March. Granted those are spring training games where starters don’t play the full nine innings, but they’re still games and we quickly forget that. So all in all, everyday players are putting in over 190 games each year. It’s almost natural that they’d have some tired bats at a certain point in the grind.
Yovani Gallardo gave the Orioles a good outing last night, and put them in a position to win the game. Gallardo’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 3 K. He started off in an inauspicious manner by giving up a solo shot and a two-run homer in the first inning. But he hunkered down and those were the only runs he surrendered. At one point, he retired ten consecutive hitters.
The Orioles’ lone run before the end came when Machado reached on a fielding error in the last of the fifth. However two innings later Travis’ RBI-double down the left field line gave Toronto a 4-1 lead, which was later extended to 5-1 on Saunders’ solo homer. One interesting thing about this series which was personified on that Travis RBI-double; Toronto always seems to have an answer for wherever the Orioles position their fielders. The Birds were playing a shift on Travis, and he hit the ball down the line – exactly where Machado would have been playing had there been no shift.
Jonathan Schoop smacked a two-run homer in the last of the ninth to run the score to 5-3, but it was too little too late. The Orioles now find themselves four games out of the division lead, and two behind second place Boston. They’re also tied with Detroit for the second wild card spot.
And make no mistake about the fact that Toronto is showing signs of tired bats also. Quite a few teams are. You don’t notice it as much because they won last night, but keep in mind that this is a team that routinely seems to win games 11-2 or something of the like. They had to battle to win these two games in Baltimore against the Orioles. Granted the Orioles’ starting pitching was very good. However as I said this is a team that fully expects to blow their opponents mercilessly out of the water.
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The Orioles have to find a way to get things back on track if they’re going to continue to make a run at the post season. A lot of folks point to NY and wonder how they’ve been able to slowly get back into the race. Well keep in mind that we’re talking about the Orioles having some tired bats. New York has a totally different team than it did a month or two ago – they’re young, enthusiastic, and energetic – too young to get tired!
Adam Jones obviously hasn’t played since last Friday, and he came out after the first inning. So assuming he’s ready to go this weekend, he should be rested. And the entire team will benefit from a much-needed day off today. For their sake, one has to hope that the Orioles’ players do nothing related to baseball today and just take a breather.
The O’s did make some moves on the last day of being able to trade through waivers. They swaped relievers (Zach Phillips for Kyle Lobstein) with Pittsburgh, and then DFA’d Lobstein after trading for Arizona’s Michael Bourn. They then picked up Drew Stubbs off of waivers from Texas. Bourn and Stubbs are both decent outfielders, who could play a role in whatever happens in September.