After scoring just five runs in three games against the Mariners, the Orioles bats are hoping a trip to Oakland will be just what the doctor ordered to get them on track.
Despite their struggles on the year, the Mariners pitching staff boasts a 3.88 ERA which ranks them fourth in all of baseball; couple that with the fact that they threw three left handers against the O’s and the offensive ineptitude of the Birds against the Mariners was not a surprise.
With the series now over the Orioles are only hitting .256 as a team against left handed pitching while hitting .271 against right handed pitching. The Orioles will face two right handers on Saturday and Sunday when the A’s send South African Trevor Cahill to the mound Saturday and Vin Mazzaro on Sunday.
Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, who have produced some of the best numbers by any top three in the order in baseball, went a combined 6-for31 in the Seattle series with Jones being the only one to record multiple hits in a game. Brian Roberts failed to get a hit in the three game series which will need to change if the offense is to have success.
Despite facing a left hander in Oakland, the A’s pitching could be just the remedy the Orioles bats need. The A’s come into the series with a 4.43 team ERA ranking them 17th in all of baseball.
In the three game set, the Orioles will face Dallas Braden(3-4 3.63 ERA), Trevor Cahill(2-5 4.33 ERA) and Vin Mazzaro, who is making only his second major league start. These pitchers are not nearly as formidable as the last five pitchers the Orioles have faced so the offense could break out in a big way this weekend.
Against the Mariners the Orioles failed to play “small ball” and move runners over when they needed to. They seemed to run themselves out of many rallies and failed to get the key hit when they needed to.
I like the Orioles lineup, but the fact that Dave Trembley does not trust them enough to lay down a bunt with a runner on second and no outs, is a major problem. The Mariners came into last night’s game leading the league in sacrifices with 30 while the Orioles came in with only five.
The Orioles batters seemed to fail every time a hit and run was called and will need to improve on this if they want to break out their slump.
Quite often in this series the Orioles would get the lead runner on either by a single, walk or extra base hit and would leave them stranded at the base they were at.
I was watching the game last night and there was a situation where Cesar Izturis was up with a man on and no outs, prime position for the lowly 9th place hitter to lay down a bunt. Izturis was allowed to swing away and produced an out without even moving the runner over. This is simple fundamental baseball that can make a huge difference in a one run ball game and something the Orioles need to work as a team.
Baseball is a game where fortunes can change for day to day so I am not overly worried about the Orioles recent offensive struggles. They have faced five good pitchers in their last five games, and we all know that good pitching wins out more often then not.
The Orioles will be facing a mediocre trio of A’s pitchers and I think their bats will come alive. The remedy for offensive success is simple: get the top three in the order on track.
If the Orioles do this then they will score runs, if they don’t they won’t simple as that.
Despite the numbers being on their Orioles side, there is no certainty that they will break out of their offensive funk.
The only thing that fans can be fairly certain about is the fact that the A’s will win on Sunday. That is as close to a certainty as there is in baseball.