So here we are Orioles fans, a week and a few days into July and the Orioles bats have become anemic. So far this month there are only two players batting over .250, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Aside from those two, you are seeing some sickly numbers across the board and it’s coming at the worst time possible, the Rangers are in town.
The Birds have gone a dismal 2 and 5 over the last 7 dropping series’ to the last place White Sox, the debilitated Yankees, and last nights 1st game against the Rangers.
In the series against the White Sox the O’s averaged just 2.6 runs per game, down from their season mark of 4.8. Now far be it from me to say the White Sox batters shouldn’t be able to out-hit the Orioles with their 27th ranked offense… but c’mon!
“Well Chris Sale’s top 5 in ERA”
He didn’t pitch against us.
The worst part is that the Birds’ only win in the series came against Hector Santiago, who pitched a great game. Watching this series you would have thought they ran into the mid-90′s Braves judging by the starters stat lines(Santiago 7IP, 2ER, 9K’s Quintana 7IP, 0ER, 11K’s). Orioles batters with runners in scoring position were non-existent going just 3-18 over the series (This will be an on-going theme for the rest of the article). JJ Hardy will take the majority blame here with his 0-6 with RISP. The starting All Star shortstop in the month of July is batting just .115 with only 1 extra-base hit. It’s alright though because the Birds are headed to New York just after giving them the brooms.
The Yankees series gave the Orioles no breathing room as Ivan Nova put on an Oscar-worthy CC Sabathia performance (9IP, 3H, 2ER, 11K’s) but Baltimore still had the 2-1 lead going into the 9th! Cue Jim Johnson, blown save number 6 in game 1. Game 2 had a different feel as Chris Tillman struggled getting first pitch strikes and seemed a little wild all day. Yankees take it 5-4, even though the Orioles got to Andy Pettitte early on. The final game of the series saw a great comeback win in which Adam Jones dropped the hammer on Mariano Rivera with an eventual game winning 2-run shot in the 9th. The bats continued their struggles through this series too, 2-17 RISP accruing 2 runs in 2 of the 3 games. Momentum is now on the Orioles side with the Adam Jones late game heroics though right!?!?
Not at all when Scott Feldman got rocked by his former team (Rangers) in his Camden Yards debut allowing 7 runs over 5 and a third. In all fairness Feldman had to pitch close to the vest all night as the Black and Orange converted just once in 12 opportunity’s with RISP. Matt Wieters hit a 2-run homer in the 7th to somewhat absolve himself from the normal amount of heat he would take for striking out 4 times in a game.
If you just go by the numbers in the last 7 games, Matt Wieters is 0-6 with RISP, batting a mere .211. The 2nd Base Trio of Alexi Casilla, Ryan Flaherty, and Brian Roberts are .156 reaching base just 7 times (Brian Roberts with the majority of at bats). JJ Hardy and Chris Davis are both batting sub .125, although Davis has 2 HR and 5 RBI. The only saving grace at this point is Adam Jones and Nick Markakis combining for a .339 with 8 runs.
Don’t worry O’s fans the pitchers will not be getting a pass here either. Jason Hammel and Scott Feldman need to be more consistent from start to start, a solid 1 run performance against the Yankees but allows 5 against the White Sox?(Hammel) and 2 in Chicago only to come home and get shelled by the Rangers. (Feldman) Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez both get passes in my book as they have been the only consistent starters in this rotation. Let’s all just collectively pray to the Baseball Gods that Wei-Yin Chen’s return Wednesday brings some stability to a wildly inconsistent (as of late) rotation.
On the injury front Steve Johnson is throwing in Sarasota which could get some of these over-used relievers a little R&R in the second half and Wilson Betemit on the other hand, well, who cares.
I for one can’t wait until the All-Star break hits so that the Orioles can get a rest and their heads away from their recent struggles.