Baltimore Orioles: Playoff chances diminish after Indians series
After winning several series against tough teams, the Baltimore Orioles showed their flaws against the Cleveland Indians in their last three-game series.
The Baltimore Orioles were swept out of Cleveland in three rather ugly losses to the hottest team in baseball.
The Indians left the series winning 18 in a row and they managed to showcase every single weakness on the O’s team. After losing their last four consecutive games, the O’s have fallen back under .500.
The Orioles haven’t been completely eliminated from the second Wild Card spot, but they have dropped down from one game out to three games out. Those four losses let the Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, and Los Angeles Angels move up in the competition for that coveted spot.
Pitching weaknesses on display
After the 0-5 loss to the Indians in the first game of the series, the rest of them remained close. The Indians outscored the Orioles by only three runs in the last two games. In all three games, the Indians’ starters got the wins and the Orioles’ starters got the losses. This is a sign that the Orioles have a pitching issue.
Understanding that the Orioles have weak starting pitching should come as no surprise. But, if the Orioles do manage to get to the postseason by getting into their own win streak, they would have to face the Indians again. The Orioles have only won one game against the Indians, on June 20 by a score of 6-5. On that day, both starters pitching four innings and gave up eight hits and five earned runs. But, the Orioles bullpen got the job done. Chris Tillman pitched that day and had an ERA of 8.39 by the end of the day.
Other than that June 20 game, every other Orioles starter has earned a loss against the Tribe. And, every other Indians starter has earned a win. If the Orioles were to play the Indians in a playoff game, there is not one starting pitcher who could handle the Tribe and potentially get a win.
This is a problem.
Can’t just rely on home runs
The other weakness that the Indians series revealed was an offensive one. The Orioles clearly rely on home runs to get wins. The Indians’ solid pitching held the Orioles to only two home runs in the entire series. Tim Beckham hit one on Saturday and Chris Davis hit one on Sunday. No runs were scored by the Orioles on Friday.
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The bottom of the Orioles lineup did not produce at all in those three days. A playoff team cannot afford to have an entire section of the lineup put up goose eggs in three consecutive games. The team needs to be able to produce runs on the basepaths, not just hit homers.
Defense had problems, too
Lastly, the Orioles showed their weaknesses on defense. There were some absolutely ugly moments by the men defending the bases. At one point, Trey Mancini and Tim Beckham collided in the outfield trying to make a catch. Even the reliable Adam Jones made an error. While it did not result in a run scoring, it was still a moment that did not add any style points to the team.
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If the Orioles end up watching the playoffs in October, hopefully, Dan Duquette will be able to address some of these issues – especially in regards to starting pitching.