Monday, June 8, 2009

A week to forget

Win 7 of 8 games? Check.

Look like the organization has finally turned a corner with rookie players contributing? Check.

So what happened to the Orioles?

A west coast trip happened.

The Orioles must be unable to deal with jet lag or airline food because they completed another miserable west coast trip, going 1-5 and losing 5 straight games. In those six games they scored a total of 10 runs. For those who failed second grade math, that’s less than 2 runs a game.

And just when you thought the offense was offensive, remember all that solid pitching we were getting? Reality check time:

Jeremy Guthrie - 0.2 IP, 6 ER.

Jason Berken - 3.1 IP, 9 ER

Rich Hill - 0.2 IP, 3 ER (including 4 BB and 1 HBP)

As well as the Orioles were playing for a week there, winning 7 of 8 games, they completely erased all those warm and fuzzy feelings (just like they always have) by losing 7 of 8 games.

Matt Wieters, the savior of the Baltimore Orioles, who even has his own Chuck Norris-like website ( is currently batting .143 with 0 HR. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts are both mired in month-long slumps. Only Adam Jones has been consistent since opening day, but even he hasn’t hit a HR since May 26th.

Remember when we were all saying that the Orioles turned a corner 2 weeks ago? Well they may have, but then they ducked back behind the corner and started cowering like a scared little girl.

When is this team ever going to make a stride and not erase it the second they realize they’ve made one?

Rich Hill needs a complete mechanical overhaul. His delivery is so long and strenuous, it’s no surprise he’s had back injuries and trouble with control in the past. Hopefully pitching coach Rick Kranitz can reinvent Hill so he can consistently become the dominant pitcher he is at times. It’s hard to remember that we acquired Hill for a PTBNL.

Jason Berken was due for a start like his last one. He doesn’t miss many bats, and Oakland (while one of the worst offensive teams by OPS in the AL) was put together by Billy Beane, a GM who picks up players who are patient and will make you pay for mistakes. And boy did they make Berken pay for not having dominant stuff, collecting 9 hits and 3 walks in just 3.1 IP.

But it’s Jeremy Guthrie who is perhaps the most troubling of them all. Guthrie had been the team’s anchor pitcher for the last 2 years. In any given year he’s only had just a handful of bad starts. Well, so far this year, he’s only had a handful of good starts. And that handful is pretty small. The Orioles would be wise to trade Guthrie if he gets back on track because he doesn’t look to be the stabilizer he was for the last few years. And as the Orioles continue to call up their promising pitching prospects, the spaces in the rotation are few and far between.

So, are the Orioles getting better? Will they ever turn this ship around?

It’s hard to tell after the last 2 polarizing weeks.

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