Weaver defeats Orioles, Hammel and Markakis

What can you say about the Orioles? For the past few weeks, they’ve been lackluster and on the left coast last night – in Anaheim – their struggles at the plate continued.

Jered Weaver and the Angels defeated the Orioles again, this time by a score of 3-0. Once again, Weaver treated the Orioles like garbage, as he went eight innings, allowed only three hits and struck out five in eight innings of work.

Only Wilson Betemit, Jim Thome and Robert Andino mustered a hit against one of the best pitchers in baseball – despite Weaver not throwing extremely hard. The Orioles just didn’t show a particularly good approach at the plate and seemingly can’t do much at all if they can’t hit homers.

The offense needs to badly get their stuff together if they are to stay in the race – even with the addition of Jim Thome, who frankly has not done much.

If that does not happen, the Orioles will fade from the playoff race.

Jason Hammel pitched very well for Baltimore on the mound and took the loss. He went 6 2/3 innings and gave up three runs. The Angels can hit and do all the little things right at the plate. They chipped away at Hammel, little by little, and leading 1-0 in the seventh inning, they scored twice in the frame to send him to the showers.

Despite the loss, Hammel has been a shining light for the Orioles, as he helped propel the team’s fast start and a rock on the mound. He has ended the first half of the season with an 8.5 record and a 3.47 ERA.

The Orioles are 45-39 and are still in second place in the American League East. They trail the Yankees by 6 games, and although the All-Star break is only a day away, they are still in decent shape in the playoff hunt.

Overall, we as fans should be happy that the Orioles are winning for the first time in many years. No one picked the Orioles to do this well, much less remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Then again, this team seems to be so close to finally turning the corner, but the problems are clearly evident: this is still seriously flawed team, as they need some pitching and hitting.

Finally, it is now pretty obvious that the injury to Nick Markakis has hurt the offense, but the fabulous news is that he should be back after the All-Star break.

He hit two homers last night in Bowie and played a solid right field in a rehab game. As it is, the Orioles need Markakis’ patience at the plate and hitting, because it has been a struggle at times watching them at the plate.