After their nice win over the Blue Jays on Saturday night, the Orioles fell to them on Sunday, losing 7-4. Over the past year, the Blue Jays have owned the Orioles, and the result from this weekend’s series did not change much.
Toronto took two of three from Baltimore thanks to the longball as Adam Lind had an outstanding day, going for 4-for-4 with two solo homers. However, Escobar’s three-run homer made the difference for the Blue Jays, as it broke open a game which was tied at two in the fourth inning.
Jeremy Guthrie — who started for Baltimore on the pitcher’s mound – had a shaky performance as the Blue Jays teed off on him and hit the ball hard. He allowed six runs cross the plate in five innings of work. Guthrie has pitched well over his past few starts, but a strong Toronto lineup had their way with him.
The Orioles offense got two runs in the first inning off a Vladmir Guerrero double and a ground out by Derrek Lee. Nick Markakis plated in a run in the fifth off sacrifice fly, and Mark Reynolds hit his ninth homer – a solo shot – in the eighth inning. They had a quick 2-1 lead after the second inning; however, they could not hold onto it.
Ever since the Orioles sniffed .500 before their West Coast road trip, it has not been easy. They have lost seven out of their last nine games. The Orioles’ offense has struggled and the starting pitching has had bouts of inconsistency. Well, I expected the Orioles at 26-31, to hit some rough patches, especially as the season goes on and the pressure that has been put on the young arms.
Much of the scrutiny with the team has involved Nick Markakis. As we know, the right fielder has been struggling badly at the plate, as it seems much of his power has been sapped and he has just not hitting at all – period.
Markakis has hung in there so far and everyone knows that some point he will bounce back, but when?
Will Markakis be moved down in the lineup, or be benched for a day? It remains to be seen; however, Markakis is a cog – an important one – for the Orioles. The offense needs to gain a bit of steam, so he needs to get things turned around soon.
Also, Derrek Lee played his second game since returning from the disabled list on Sunday. Lee’s been a disappointment so far in Baltimore, and as it is, he too needs to get it in gear. I’m not sure what to expect from him at this point, but if Lee could somehow return to at least some of what we saw with the Cubs – the Orioles would be fine.
Lee hit the ball hard on Sunday, so that is a positive. He was moved down to the fifth spot, as Adam Jones is now batting in the three-hole, so let’s hope that gets him going.
Finally, the 2011 MLB First Year player draft is being held on Monday evening. I’ve not been following information as closely as I’d like because I have had a busy past two weeks. It looks like from what I have read online, the Orioles are going after more pitching and have their eyes on a couple of nice hurlers. We shall see who they pick on Monday.