The Weekend That Was & Looking Forward

The Baltimore Orioles came up in the Tampa Bay area, taking two consecutive contests in their three-game set.

Amazingly, for a team that has had pitching issues and troubling scoring runs for much of the summer, the Orioles are hanging in there within the playoff hunt. They are pulling out the close contests, winning the one-run games, and getting contributions from seemingly everyone these days.

With Wei-Yin Chen’s impressive performance on Saturday, along with Miguel Gonzalez’s impressive outing – with support – from the bullpen on Sunday, and Tommy Hunter’s game on Friday (despite losing), the Orioles have gotten a nice run from their starting pitchers as of late.

When it comes down it, Baltimore’s hope of still staying in the wild card race comes down to their starting pitching. The offense is obviously crucial, and needs to do its job; however, I do believe pitching is 90 percent of the game.

On Sunday, the Orioles only mustered three hits against the Rays. That fact along would lead many to believe that the they had no chance during Sunday’s game – especially against David Price, who started for Tampa Bay. However, Gonzalez pitched seven stellar innings on the mound, along with three shutout innings by the bullpen, and that helped set Taylor Teagarden’s RBI-double in the 10th inning.

Funny, it seems to be when the Orioles are in deep trouble and the ship seems to be sinking, they tend to pull out of it.

The Baltimore team been resilient and is the first time in ages that they have been this competitive heading into August.

Now, the thing is this: August is typically the swoon month for the Orioles.

Can they hang in there?

They are 57-51 and trail the Yankees by 6.5 games in the American League East; however, they are one game behind the wild card leaders, Oakland and Detroit. The retooled Angels are .5 games behind.

Luckily, the Orioles now hit a soft patch in the schedule, as they face the Mariners, Royals, and the struggling, but always tough Boston Red Sox squad.

If the Orioles can build upon the nice record, this would be the time to do it.

Well, it is shaping up to be quite the exciting summer and fall – potentially – for the Orioles. They have to get some offense going, everyone has to stay healthy and the bullpen has to maintain the excellent job they are doing.

However, the Orioles survival in the wild card and a playoff spot for the next 52 games will depend on the starting pitching – and winning.