Although the Birds are well on their way to losing 90 games for a 6th consecutive year (9th time in the last 14 years), they have been playing more competitive baseball over the last week. The Birds split their last six games, but one game was a blown save against the Jays, so they should have won four.
Their starting pitching struggled with Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter each allowing four earned in their loss. Some of their hitters are awakening; catcher Matt Wieters (3 HR) and infielder Chris Davis (3 doubles and 1 HR) have both unleashed their power strokes finally.
The Orioles’ saving grace over the last week has been their bullpen. Although some of their hitters have come alive, their pen has really shut the door on the competition. Nine of 11 bullpen members didn’t allow an earned run last week.
With all the talk about Jeremy Guthrie (4.22) on his way to the most losses in Oriole history (possibly 20 by season’s end), it may have sparked a nerve. He was a completely different pitcher. In two starts, Guthrie was 2-0 with a 1.29 ERAover 14 innings and surrendered only two earned runs.
Alfredo Simon (4.67) received a no-decision against the Rays in one of his best outings of the season. He tossed seven innings and surrendered only two earned runs on six base hits. The Birds went on to beat those Rays on a two-run eighth inning HR by Wieters.
Hunter (5.38) squared off north of the border against the Jays. He tossed 6.1 innings, allowed four earned runs (six overall) on nine hits and struck out five.
Britton (4.43), returned to April form turning heads before his last start in Yankee Stadium. That same Britton looked very different as he got hit around Tuesday night by the Rays. He lasted five innings, surrendered four earned runs on just five hits, but he issued four walks.
Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero is stroking the ball well collecting 10 hits over his last 23 at-bats (.435 avg.) with one double and 3 RBI. Davis is hitting .357, has driven in five Orioles and scored three runs himself.
Mark Reynolds had a tough time seeing the ball last week. He’s failed to record a single hit in his last 19 at-bats (five games) and struck out seven times. Although Wieters found his HR stroke (3 HR), he managed just one other base hit. He hit .200 after going 4-for-20 with a double and six RBI. Right fielder Nick Markakis is only five for his last 22 with three RBI.
Both set up man Jim Johnson and reliever Troy Patton pitched 3.1 scoreless innings last week. September call ups Zach Phillips and Pedro Strop combined for four more scoreless innings and three strikeouts in three appearances out of the pen. There is hope…
Closer Kevin Gregg, who has struggled throughout his first season, scraped 0.1 IP last week. In his return to Toronto, he was handed a two-run lead heading into the ninth and he allowed two runs on a bases loaded wild pitch and a single.
Besides Gregg, the pen really pitched well this week. Reliever Jeremy Accardo is the only other member to allow an earned run in relief and he only gave up one in 1.1 innings.
Despite Guerrero, Davis and Wieters ripping the cover off the baseball this week, Baltimore’s offense is still struggling as a whole. There were a few solid pitching efforts by Guthrie and Simon, but their week was really about their bullpen domination. This is a good sign for the Orioles next season, so let’s hope they can keep it up.
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About the Author
Written by Alex Van Rees
I am 22 years old and I recently graduated from James Madison University this May with a BA degree and a major in journalism. I live in Reston, VA, about 20 minutes outside of Washington. I am looking for an entry-level position with a sports media company where I can demonstrate my writing, interviewing and technical skills to better the organization.