At times in 2017, Adam Jones was one of the only players hitting and producing. Again, I said one one the only players. Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop obviously had great years. as well as a couple of others. However one of the hallmarks of this past season was that the offense hibernated all at once in various points of the season.
And that’s something on which we should spend some time this off season. Obviously the main problem was the pitching. But there were quite a few games that the pitching did in fact hold up their end of the bargain. And the bats let the Orioles down. It’s fine and dandy to pitch a quality start, but if your offense can’t help you out and you lose 3-0, it’s still a loss.
First off, every team is going to go through dead periods at the plate. The Los Angeles Dodgers had that happen in the beginning of September. It was kind of laughed off because they were light years ahead in their division and at no risk of missing the post season, but it still happened. So you can’t totally head off these types of problems in terms of having it not happen.
But it seemed to happen to the Orioles across several different periods of the season. May was a dead period, however the Orioles have had a couple of bad May’s at the plate over the past couple of years. And that almost attests for it happening. Perhaps guys are starting to settle into the grind of the season and so forth, realizing the long haul that it’s going to be.
The O’s also had a slew of injuries over the course of the entire summer. Davis, Hardy, Castillo, and Flaherty all found themselves on the DL (some more than others). That’s not an excuse, but a fact. And that was true throughout the entire year. Adam Jones missed in essence the entire last week of the season due to sore legs that had plagued him all year.
Instead, the Orioles’ competition seemed to get stronger and healthier. Boston and New York didn’t have to contend with those types of injuries. In general, I’m in favor of a veteran team like what the Orioles have. However if half your infield AND your depth (Flaherty) are hurt, you see the downside very quickly. And in fact, you look at the season that Trey Mancini had, and when you realize he was a rookie perhaps youth can sometimes make a difference.
Lackluster pitching will be the end story of this Orioles’ season. But the silent bats at times played just as big a role. Hopefully for the O’s a long winter’s rest will help them to spring anew come March.
The Baltimore Orioles had their seven-game win streak snapped last night at the hands of their division rivals, Toronto. All good things must come to an end, folks. Jeremy Hellickson was battered around over the course of his start, but even the Orioles’ bullpen yielded four runs. Hellickson’s line: 4.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 4 BB, 2 K.
Adam Jones got things started in the first inning with a two-run homer. One inning later Tim Beckham‘s RBI-single gave the O’s a 3-0 lead. However Toronto wasn’t about to be outdone, as they have some power as well. They got a two-run homer by Morales in the third, bringing them to within 3-2.
The Orioles were in fact able to extend their lead to 5-2 on a groundout and an RBI-single, but Toronto chipped away. Morales came up again in the fifth and smacked an RBI-single, which was followed by Montero’s two-RBI double. Suddenly before you knew it the game was knotted at five.
Montero came home on Pillar’s two-RBI double, and before you knew it Toronto had the lead. Chris Davis would add a solo homer in the last of the fifth, however Toronto wasn’t through yet. Another at-bat by Morales, and another homer – again of the two-run variety. And would you believe that he also hit one in the eighth?! While that one was a solo shot, it was also the backbreaker for the Birds.
The O’s however did attempt to come back, as Beckham added an RBI-single in the eighth. He took second base on a fielding error, and was plated by Schoop’s RBI-single. It begins and ends with starting pitching however, and the O’s couldn’t get the job done last night. Usually when you score eight runs you win. However it’s also true that usually when you surrender 11 you lose.
Timm Beckham is certainly sad to see the calendar turn to September, as he finished August with 50 hits. He talked about that after the game (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):
Yeah, man, it’s wild, it’s wild. It’s a blessing. Everything that’s happened. I thank God above for that. We need to keep it going and get this team to the playoffs.
Needless to say, Beckham’s provided this Orioles team with a shot in the arm since arriving at the trade deadline. As much as Dan Duquette’s moves are criticized, this was a good one.
The Baltimore Orioles continued their hot ways of late, returning home last night and besting Seattle in game one of three. As I said yesterday, this might well be the most important series of the season given the wild card standings. The O’s now stand 1.5 games out of the final wild card spot, and only a half game back of Anaheim at that.
Chris Tillman got the start, and with mixed results at that. His final stat line wasn’t much to write home about, however he battled – as did the entire Orioles team. Tillman’s line: 5.1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 1 K. Seattle didn’t want to go away – and the fact is that they knew the stakes also.
And Seattle actually had the lead early in this game, as Valencia smacked a soo homer in the second inning. However that didn’t last long. Welington Castillo‘s two-RBI single in the last of the second gave the O’s the lead at 2-1. Jonathan Schoop added an RBI-single of his own, putting the O’s ahead 3-1.
However as I said when the Orioles were on the west coast, many of these western teams don’t buy much into the concept of a coup de grace. In an AL East game the Birds would have taken that 3-1 lead, maybe added a couple more, and perhaps the opponent would have added a run or two. These western teams are scrappy and they don’t take no for an answer. Gamel smacked a three-run homer in the fourth, putting the Orioles behind suddenly, 4-3.
However in the bottom frame of that fourth inning the Birds took control back. Gentry lined an RBI-single which tied the game and loaded the bases. Beckham was then hit by a pitch, and the Birds had the lead again, 5-4. As I’ve said many times, funny things can happen when guys get on base. One inning later Adam Jones gave the O’s what we thought was some padding in their lead with a solo homer.
But again, Seattle didn’t go away. And again it was Gamel. His two-RBI single tied the game at six in the sixth inning. However it was Chris Davis who ultimately gave the O’s the coup de grace for which they had been looking against Seattle. His RBI-double in the seventh put them ahead 7-6, which was the final.
While this game was a win, Seattle put the Orioles on notice that they’re going to be in a dog fight every game along the way this week. And that’s what a pennant race (or wild card race) is all about. Needless to say, the O’s got off to a good start last night leapfrogging Seattle in the standings.
The Baltimore Orioles are tough to beat when their offense is firing on all cylinders. Especially when you’re a team like Oakland who just doesn’t have the horses right now. And when Adam Jones, the de facto team captain, smacks two homers in the game, you know that it’s going to be a long day.
Wade Miley turned in a solid outing that was good enough to qualify both for a quality start and a win. Miley’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 6 K. Oakland actually held a bried lead in this game after Chapman’s RBI-double in the second inning. However that also shows you how an inning can snowball in a sense. It got started innocently enough, with an infield hit. In theory not a big deal; but a walk and another base hit later, the Orioles trailed 1-0.
However they responded in the last of the second on Trumbo’s sac fly-RBI. Two innings later, Jones gave the Birds the lead for good with a solo homer. However Oakland managed to load the bases in the fifth which challenged the Orioles lead with one down. But Miley induced an inning-ending double-play, and the Orioles held onto the lead.
And just for good measure, Jonathan Schoop busted the game wide open in the botto of that fifth inning. His three-run homer gave the Birds a 5-1 lead. Jones would hit his second solo homer of the game later in the inning, and the Birds led 6-1. Oakland would get two runs back on Lowrie’s solo homer in the sixth and Powell’s in the eighth, but that made little difference.
Oh and if you were waiting for a coup de grace in this game, Welington Castillo smacked a solo shot of his own in the last of the eigth to round out the scoring. At the end of the day, the O’s crusied to a 7-3 victory in game one of this series. As has been the case for much of the season, so goes Oriole bats, so go the Orioles.
After the O’s dropped two-of-three to Anaheim, this is a very important series. They’re almost in a position where anything less than sweeping Oakland is to their detriment. So this game was a good start towards that goal. And needless to say, the goal is always to win…everyday.
Adam Jones was only the first member of the Baltimore Orioles to go yard last night in Oakland. It turned out there were others. In fact, it turned out that the Birds smacked two sets of back-to-back homers in one of the most cavernous ballparks in the league. And that was the key to winning last night’s series opener in Oakland.
The Orioles also get an effort above-and-beyond what Wade Miley is normally capable of turning in. Miley’s line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R (0 earned), 3 BB, 7 K. Miley recorded outs, and stayed out of full and deeper counts. Normally he gets a boatload of those and turns in five innings – win or lose. Last night he obviously was able to go deeper.
The O’s took an early lead in the first inning on a Machado RBI-groundout, however Lowrie’s sac fly-RBI in the last of the first tied the game at one. But that’s as close as Oakland would ever be. In the fourth Jones smacked a solo homer, and suddenly the O’s led once again.
But the Orioles weren’t done there. Trey Mancini came up to bat behind Jones, and promptly smacked a second homer – in back-to-back fashion. Suddenly the O’s had a two-run lead in Oakland, which again is one of the biggest ballparks in baseball.
And the Orioles decided to pull the back-to-back homers deal once again in the sixth inning. Mancini was involved in it once again, however this time he started it. Immediately following Mancini’s second solo homer of the game, Mark Trumbo hit one of his own. And the O’s led, 5-1.
But while the homer parade was over at that point, Jones himself wasn’t quite done. He would add an RBI-double in the seventh to run the score to 6-1. Lowrie’s RBI-double one inning later would bring Oakland to within 6-2, however they weren’t getting any closer than that.
The Orioles felt like they let an opportunity go by the wayside to win a series in Anaheim, so this was a good way to get that taste out of their mouths. It also successfully opened a series in a ballpark that hasn’t always been kind to the O’s. Yet they not only managed to win, but they did it playing their power game.
It’s tough to put a finger on the fact that the Baltimore Orioles have been so streaky this year, and why. For nearly a month-and-a-half it seemed that they could do nothing right. It’s almost a miracle that they didn’t get no-hit in that span. Yet this week they’ve managed to turn it on and all but bludgeon Texas into oblivion.
Wade Miley was unable to continue the Orioles’ streak of quality starts. In fact he turned in what comes across as a typical outing for him. Miley’s line: 5.0 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 3 K. He gave up an RBI-single to Beltre in the first inning, and an RBI-double to Gomez in the second. So Texas actually did lead for part of the game.
But Oriole bats battled back, staying hot. Jonathan Schoop smacked a solo homer in the last of the fourth to cut the lead in half. Yet, Texas actually did put up a fight in this game, because before the Orioles could get him out of the game Miley gave up a three-run homer to Napoli. So…was that the death blow in this game for the O’s?
A week ago it might well have been. 5-1 would have been insurmountable. Heck, 1-0 was almost insurmountable a week ago. (I know that it was the all-star break a week ago, but work with me,) But the Orioles battled back – and right away, at that.
Adam Jones, “The Captain,” led the charge. He smacked a two-run homer in the last of the fifth to bring the birds to within 5-3. That was followed by a solo shot by Mark Trumbo later in the inning, cutting the Texas lead to one at 5-4. Suddenly it was a one-run game, which is what it was prior to Napoli’s three-run homer.
And with that, a Joey Rickard RBI-single in the sixth tied the game up. And the O’s all but immediately took the lead on an RBI-single by none other than Jones, followed by a two-RBI single by Schoop. Tack on a Davis solo homer in the seventh, and the O’s had a pretty good night at the plate.
Texas did threaten against Britton in the ninth, netting two runs on a two-RBI single by Choo. However that was the only damage done, and the O’s took game four, 9-7. It was a four-game sweep of Texas, which is a tough thing to do. As I said, it’s amazing how streaky this team has been, but the fact is that they rode lows for a long time. Now they’re riding a high that they hope continues.
The Houston Astros now come to town for a three-game set over the weekend at Camden Yards. Ubaldo Jimenez gets the start tonight for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Houston’s Mike Fiers. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.
You can throw Kevin Gausman into the litany of Baltimore Orioles’ starters who have thrown quality starts this week. The Birds now have a three-game winning streak, after three quality starts by three different pitchers. How quickly things can change. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K.
But we’ve also seen a re-awakening of Oriole bats in this week’s series against Texas, and last night it was “The Captain,” Adam Jones who seemed to take the lead. Jones led the game off with a solo homer for the Orioles, who never looked back. All in all, he finished the day 3-for-5, with that homer and two RBI.
Jones also got on base in the third inning, and he found his way home as a result of Jonathan Schoop‘s two-RBI double. The lone run that Gausman gave up was a solo homer to Gallo in the fifth inning, however neither he nor the rest of the O’s let that get to them. They shut down Texas’ bats in the remainder of the inning and minimized the damage.
The O’s held that 3-1 lead through the seventh, when they loaded the bases with nobody out. Tejada reached on a fielding error when he popped up a ball in the infield only to have the catcher misplay it. Adam Jones would then come back to the plate, and he smacked an RBI-single. Machado and Schoop each then blooped balls into shallow left field, which gave the O’s a 7-1 lead.
It’s important to note that runs scored on all four of those above-mentioned plays. However the bases remained loaded. The Orioles kind of did to Texas in that seventh inning what so many other teams seem to be able to do to the O’s – death by a thousand paper cuts. Schoop’s RBI-single was so softly hit it would have made the 2014 Kansas City Royals blush. But them’s the breaks.
Trey Mancini had seemingly seen enough of the “piece mealing runs together parade,” and he delivered a bases-clearing triple which put the Birds ahead 10-1. Texas would get one back on a solo homer in the ninth, but the Orioles closed out a 10-2 win. This is the second consecutive night where the O’s have put up crooked numbers against Texas.
This doesn’t mean that the Orioles have been “cured” of their ills. There are a couple of different ways to look at it. Texas appears to be going through what the Orioles have gone through at times (and very recently), which is not being able to get the bat on the ball or get on base. The O’s have also run into some buzz-saw type pitching at times. Texas hasn’t really shown that luxury thus far in the series.
But also keep in mind that baseball is based on failure. If the pitcher looks good, part of that is because the opposing hitters failed. And the same is true in reverse. So it goes both ways. I suspect that the Chicago series was a nadir of sorts for this Orioles team. That’s not to say that it’ll be smooth sailing the rest of the way, but they’ve been able to turn the tables a bit in this Texas series.
The series concludes this evening at Camden Yards. Wade Miley will try to become the fourth consecutive Oriole starter to pitch a quality start, and he’ll be opposed by Texas’ Cole Hamels. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.