Things are looking pretty gloomy right now for the Baltimore Orioles.
The birds were shutout 6-0 by the Texas Rangers earlier today and only hit the ball 3 times against Derek Holland. The Rangers swept the O’s this weekend and Baltimore has now lost ten of their last eleven contests. They now find themselves four games below .500, in fourth place in the AL East and quickly falling out of the American League Wild Card race.
Every unit on the team appears to be in a slump. Offensively, in their last eleven games, the Orioles have scored three runs or less ten times (all losses). The entire lineup is struggling to produce, which is putting pressure on the pitching staff.
The starting pitching has been particularly bad as of late. Guys like Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman all have an ERA above 5 this month. Kevin Gausman is almost there at 4.58. The only starting pitcher having a decent month is Wei Yin Chen, who’s August ERA is 2.90. Even if a starting pitcher has a good day, they most likely lose the game or face a no-decision because they are not getting any run support.
The defense has not been what it has been in previous seasons, but appears to be the team’s strength at this time. Regardless, there is not much to be positive about right now if you’re an Orioles fan.
After getting shutout and swept by the Rangers this afternoon, Adam Jones expressed his frustration with fans who think the Orioles struggles are resulting from a lack of effort. Jones said that saying the team is not playing with effort is “kind of [like] calling someone a coward.” Jones takes that as a slap in the face and “[he] wants to slap somebody in the face who says that.”
Clearly, Adam Jones is tired of the slump too. He’s a professional baseball player. He wants to win a World Series more than anything, and the fact that the Orioles came so close to getting to the World Series last year and appear to be falling short of the postseason this year has to be a tough pill to swallow.
I would be lying if I said I didn’t see this coming at the beginning of the season. After a disappointing offseason in which the Orioles failed to retain two of their most productive offensive players (Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis) and not filling in the gaps left by them, I had a feeling the offense would not be what it was last season. Yes, the Parra trade helped the outfield, but is most likely a rental and I am not expecting him to be back after this season. I am also not expecting Chris Davis, Matt Wieters or Wei Yin Chen to be back next year, and the Orioles have several questions to address as the season wraps up.
There have been bright spots to build off of this season. Jonathan Schoop is a lock to be the second baseman of the future. Several young pitchers have shown flashes and will contribute in the future, most notably Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson. The Orioles recently brought up outfielder Daniel Alvarez and infielder Paul Janish, who could be major contributes in the coming years. Calling up the young guns is exciting to see, you don’t want to see them being called up because they’re just as good if not better than what the O’s previously had on the main roster. That has been the case all season with the outfielders.
Times are tough and frustrating. There is nothing a baseball fan loves more than the race to the postseason, especially when your team is in the thick of it. Last year was a lot of fun and for the first time in my life I thought the Orioles had a legitimate shot at making it to the World Series. It is very disappointing that they are struggling like they are now and probably will not reach the postseason. Even if they do make it, I can’t see them beating either the Blue Jays, Royals or the Astros. Who knows, I could be wrong and they’ll go on a ten game winning streak starting tomorrow. But based on what I’ve seen all season, the 2015 Orioles just aren’t good enough.
It will be interesting to see if the Orioles make more moves than they did last offseason, but based on their history I would not bet on it. No matter what happens, I’ll always back the birds and will support them through thick and thin. And I hope you do too.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading!