Remember when last week I said things were looking promising? The O’s were in first place, Brian Roberts was on the comeback trail, and Boston was in last place? My how much can change in a week.
The Orioles had a miserable week. They won a well-pitched gem from Brian Matusz and lost every other game. They scored all of 15 runs for the week, fewer than half their opponents’ 32.
And that news might have been the best for the week. The Orioles received some horrendous news when Nick Markakis went down with a wrist injury which will sideline him until the end of June, and to top that off, Adam Jones just had an MRI on his sore wrist, which thankfully came back negative.
So are we watching the O’s begin their collapse, or is this just a rough patch that they will bounce back from?
Well, their upcoming schedule isn’t getting any easier.
The Orioles are in the middle of a three game series against Boston. Then they come home to face the tough Philadelphia Phillies. They then play the Pittsburgh Pirates at home before heading back out on the road to face off against the Atlanta Braves, so their schedule isn’t exactly letting up.
If the O’s have any intention of competing in the AL East, their starting pitching needs to get back to its April form. Over the last seven games, the starters have gone a combined 1-6. That’s not good.
One pitcher in particular needs to start getting it back on track is Jake Arrieta. On the season, Arrieta is 2-7 with a 5.53 ERA and has lost five of his last six decisions (he pitched well against the Nationals but didn’t get the decision in a 2-1 O’s win).
At the beginning of the season, Arrieta looked to be the Baltimore ace, but his recent struggles do not bode well for the young right hander or for the rest of the Orioles, for that matter.
Yes, Baltimore is in a tough division, perhaps the toughest in all of baseball, but they do have what it takes to make a run. The only caveat there is that in order for them to compete, they need to do the small things. They need to field better than they have been.
They need to get more than just the sure outs. They need good starting pitching and timely hitting. They need to do what they were doing early in the season.
If they can get back to that, they might make things interesting this season, but if not, we’re looking at another Oriole team to not make the playoffs.
by Andy Mindzak