Intensity, drive, passion, and confidence.
Everything that went into the Baltimore Orioles 9-2 run under new skipper Buck Showalter has seemingly come to a complete halt. Buck’s Birds’ have lost 3 of their last four but more importantly it looks as if the pitchers and hitters alike have lost the swagger that began this immense streak.
I know you might be thinking about the team the Birds’ just lost the series to was none other than the second place Rays’, but can you really just chalk it up to that. This team just finished sweeping the Angels, knocked the White Socks out of the AL central lead, and took 2 of 3 from the Indians. This team was hot, it didn’t matter if the Yankees were next on the list.
Of course though in usual Oriole fashion, the team that rose to the occasion and might have sparked some excitement for the first time since opening day, found a way to blunder it all.
I understand that this is a young team but here are three things I learned from the Rays’-O’s series:
1.) The pitching staff needs a lot of developement. First off, did anyone else take notice to how fast Brian Matusz was coming out of the stretch between pitches? This young gun wasn’t even taking the time for a much needed breath in between pitches. As soon as Wieters would deliver the ball back to the mound he would have to turn around and catch again. This approach may work for some veterans, but when you start sending every third pitch into the dirt it’s time to stop and inhale.
2.) The pitching staff still needs a lot of development. I know this guy may be a fan favorite but when Jake Arrieta throws the ball 114 times over six innings with only 63 balls for strikes, your not going to be able to capitalize for any type of long term success. This guy needs to be a more deliberate pitcher with a little bit more control when he comes out to pitch. That is what will get him further along into games and truly sustain a team all season long.
3.) Why is Julio Lugo leading off when he is only batting .252, while you have other members of the team more deserving of the at-bats? Lugo isn’t even an everyday man and when you take Brian Roberts out of the line up, I think you need to give Felix Pie some more looks at the top of the order. This guy entered the Rays’ series hitting a few points below .300 at .294. Pie dropped a few points but he is tied for the team lead with Luke Scott at .288. I just think with as hot and aggressive as this guy has been at the plate, the O’s need to take advantage of him.
Hopefully Buck’s Birds’ can get back on track with their upcoming homestand against the Seattle Mariners and the power hitting Texas Rangers. The Mariners should give the Birds a chance to regroup just in time for Vlad and the Rangers to come to town. If Baltimore hopes to regain confidence it begins tomorrow with driving in base runners and some more consistant pitching.