It has not been a very good week for the Baltimore Orioles up in the Big Apple. They did not get beat by the rival Yankees; however, the surprising New York Mets swept the Birds over a three-game set.
Baltimore’s offense got stifled by the phenomenal knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and the veteran Johan Santana in the first two games; however, they made it close in the final contest. As much as the offense struggled, I’m not too worried about that and ready to push ‘red alert’ button on that front.
Sadly, we as fans should definitely still be worried about the starting pitching for the Orioles. Obviously, Wei-Yin Chen and Jason Hammel have been the bedrock of the starting rotation; however, the youngsters of the rotation – Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta and Tommy Hunter – have shown some flashes of brilliance throughout the season, but have battled through inconsistency. In the end, all three have shown some highly mixed results on the mound.
The Orioles are 39-30, in second place in the American League East, and have a very legitimate shot to finish over .500 for the first time in more than a decade. Furthermore, they have a chance for one of the playoff spots in the division and have fans talking about baseball this summer rather than moving their collective attention to the Baltimore Ravens and the other teams in the NFL.
They have made waves this week – at least in the media – concerning some potential moves to be made on the pitching front.
Of course, the Orioles are linked to the Chicago Cubs – their annual trade partners in the past – with pitchers Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. A lot needs to happen for a deal to happen, but we fans should be exited that the Orioles are looking to be buyers – instead of sellers.
Then again, Baltimore’s triumvirate of youngsters in the rotation need to step up and get it going right now on the mound. That is what matters right now, and what is potentially hampering the Orioles.
Jake Arrieta – who started on Monday – looked like an ace throughout the first half of the game, but got hit hard during the sixth inning , and that led to a Baltimore loss. Granted, Dickey - who started for the Mets – was excellent, and the Orioles were not going to beat him, but Arrieta got creamed by the ‘big inning’ once again.
Tommy Hunter also starts off a game well on the mound, but can not make it through a lineup multiple times; meanwhile, Brian Matusz has been up and down in his starts this season.
Sooner or later, Chen or Hammel may go through a rough patch - especially in the warm summers - one of those three must pitch with some consistency.
That being said, the Orioles will only go as far as their starting pitching takes them.
Well, the previous statement is one that rings true each and every year; however, this season it is even more apparent.
As talented as Arrieta, Matusz and Hunter are, they need to figure out what is ailing them on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles.
If they do not, they may very well be replaced in the rotation as the organization looks forward to playing in October in their first opportunity in an awfully long time.