For the Orioles, it has been an amazing start to the season. However, have the real Birds – at least, from what we have known the last 14 years – finally shown up?
The first six weeks were something to behold, as they looked like contenders and took the baseball world by storm; however, in the last eight days, the Orioles have gone 2-6, and the starting pitching – which had been a hallmark – has started to suffer a little.
Should we as fans start to worry? Have the good times stopped rolling for the Birds?
Not to say that the Orioles are in eminent trouble; alas, the past week has not looked good for the,. Could there be some fraying of the pitching staff – who knows? In addition, they have had issues with pushing runs across, especially with runners in scoring position.
It’s still early and we should not push the panic button, but fans are starting to get a little antsy.
Tonight in Toronto, the Orioles lost their first contest of a three game set against the Blue Jays, 6-2.
Although Baltimore scored two runs in the top of the ninth inning and Adam Jones extended his hitting streak to nineteen games, they were blown out by Toronto early.
Tommy Hunter only lasted three innings and gave up six runs – five earned. I think Hunter is a bulldog on the mound, and he’s won before; however, he’s not shown any consistency and command on his pitches, plus has allowed his offerings to stay up in the zone.
That spells trouble for any pitcher, and the swinging Blue Jays made him pay. Hunter gave up nine hits – two of them homers – and just didn’t look he was in control at all. It didn’t help that Chris Davis made another error and the future for Hunter in the rotation is unknown.
After seeing his performance, I think fans are wondering if the worst for the Orioles is yet to come.
As for Hunter, I would not be surprised to see him go into long relief for the Orioles at the moment, or the minors.
Dana Eveland saved the Orioles on the night, pitching four scoreless innings in mop-up duty. One would think that he would be a candidate to make a spot start, if Hunter is demoted.
Mark Reynolds made his return to the Oriole lineup on Monday after a rehab assignment, and went 2-for-3 with a walk. Although Reynolds has more or less struggled this season, the Orioles really need his pop at the bottom of the order if they are going to do anything.
Some of the fans I know really didn’t care to see him again on the field, but he has a track record and did provide some offense last season. Reynolds was added to the 25-man roster as Stu Pomeranz – who has pitched very well this season in the minors, and in Baltimore – went on the DL with an oblique issue according to Britt Ghiroli of Orioles.com
I’ll have more thoughts in the morning.