Monday, May 10, 2010

O's split with Twins

¿Qué pensaba cuando firmé el contrato para jugar con los Orioles otra vez?

At least it started off well.

Too bad it ended the same way most series' have ended for the Orioles this year.

The Orioles won 2-0 on Thursday night, reaping the benefits of a Brad Bergesen start that could have been pulled from any of his better 2009 starts. He went 6.2 IP, allowed 6 hits and 2 walks. Bergesen got lucky at times, with his pitches occasionally getting up in the zone, but in the end, it was great to see Bergesen back to his old self. The only runs scored were on a Ty Wigginton 2-run homerun and the game saw the return of Koji Uehara, who looks great coming out of the bullpen. He still throws strikes and challenges hitters to put his pitches in play. Refreshing.

Friday night's game was rained out, meaning that the O's and Twins played a day/night doubleheader on Saturday and right off the bat, it looked like it was going to be a long day of Orioles baseball. The O's got behind the Twins quickly, with Jeremy Guthrie allowing a first inning HR to Justin Morneau. And with the O's facing LHP ace Francisco Liriano, the 2-0 lead seemed insurmountable.

But wait. The Orioles did what they never do: they hit well with runners in scoring position. They rallied back to beat Liriano and the Twins, 7-3. Guthrie got his first win of the season. And the Oriole bats looked like they had finally awakened.


In the next game, Scott Baker and his 5.35 ERA (at the start of the game) stifled the Oriole bats. Baker went 8 IP, allowed 3 hits and a Luke Scott homerun was the O's only run of the night. Kevin Millwood pitcher another solid game, going 7 IP, allowing 3 ER, but failed to get any run support. O's lose 6-1 and Millwood is still winless on the season despite a respectable 3.26 ERA on the season.

And on Sunday, with the O's having a good chance to take an impressive 3 out of 4 games from the Twins with Brian Matusz on the mound, the Orioles again, failed to score runs, losing 6-0. Brian Matusz was also roughed up, going only 3.2 IP and allowing 6 ER.

So, the Orioles return home to Baltimore after a dismal 2-5 road trip. Yes, they played the Yankees and the Twins. But they failed to score runs for the millionth time this season.

When are the bats going to heat up? I don't think they ever will. Maybe I am being a pessimist, but this offense is anemic. Even at their best they'd still be mediocre.

I'd say it's time to make a change at hitting coach, but that doesn't seem to be in Andy MacPhail's plans. He is holding hitters like Nolan Reimold and Adam Jones accountable for their struggles. And maybe that's the right thing to do. Maybe hitting coach Terry Crowley is still saying all the right things. But when you see the Seattle Mariners -- the only team in the AL with an offense worse than the Orioles (you read that right) -- fire their hitting coach, you start to wonder why the Orioles haven't done the same with Crowley.

Either way, the Orioles are 9-23, back to the season-high 14 games under .500.

They do, however, catch a "break" in the schedule department, with the Mariners, Indians and Royals coming to Baltimore for 8 straight games, before traveling to Texas for two, Washington for three, and then back home for three against Oakland.

So if the Orioles are ever going to close the gap on .500, now is the time.

But, with the Orioles having the worst record in the majors, you have to think that other teams -- no matter how bad -- look at the schedule and say the same thing.

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