Orioles Win, But Struggles Continue

The Orioles salvaged their series in Toronto yesterday, earning a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. They are now 31-35 on the season.

Although the Orioles broke their losing skid and they broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the ninth inning thanks to Ryan Adams’ single that plated two, things may not be all that good.

Starter Jeremy Guthrie left after the fifth inning due to a back strain — not good. Who knows if a disabled list visit is in the cards for Guthrie, but if it does happen, it is  a considerable blow for the Orioles. We all know that Guthrie is a hard-luck pitcher, as he always pitches well in most of his outings; however, he does not get run support, and finds himself losing far more games than he should.

He is the team’s innings-eater and de facto ace; therefore, if he is out any length of time, it could  leave a gaping hole in the rotation. Plus, I know — including talking amongst my friends and fellow fans — that Guthrie may be a candidate to be moved during the trade deadline to a contender that needs pitching.

I say keep Guthrie, and possibly extend him with a two-year deal, since he is been probably the most reliable pitcher on the team the past several seasons. The guy stays in shape, seems to want the ball, is a trooper and represents that organization well. He is on the wrong side of 30 for sure; however, his numbers speak for itself.

I’m not sure if Guthrie wants to stay in Baltimore for his entire career, or wants to be part of a winning organization; however, much like with J.J. Hardy, the organization should try to keep him.

In addition to the action yesterday, J.J. Hardy hit a solo homer, and Vladimir Guerrero went 3-for-4 with an RBI, plus got his 2,500th career hit. Jason Berken — in his first outing since his promotion from Norfolk — got the victory by pitching two scoreless innings. Kevin Gregg got the save, despite giving up a solo homer in the ninth inning.

Finally, what in the world should happen with Derrek Lee? He went 0-for-4, and is currently batting .218.

The bottom line is that he is not been very good and 66 games into the 2011 campaign, is what we have seen out of Lee what we’ll get. The team acquired him as a one-year rental to be a force, drive in some runs, plus provide some power in the middle of the order. With the offensive woes, plus the struggles of Markakis, Le”s problems at the plate should be all that more magnified.

Well, I am sure we have all been waiting for Lee to break out and do something with the bat; however, one has to wonder how long should he be in the lineup if he continues to struggle? He is skilled with the glove, but at some point, he needs to produce. I hate to say this, but he looks slow with his hands and is not driving anything; therefore, could he be done?

I do not want to compare Lee to the departed Garrett Atkins, but you do have to wonder…