Monday, April 12, 2010

O's get swept by Toronto, drop to 1-5 on the season

(Quick note: I went to Orioles games on Friday and Saturday, and both times during the O's ninth-inning comeback attempts, several fans were more interested in trying to start the wave than cheering on the team. Seriously, who tries to do the wave in the ninth inning?)

Well, that was unexpected. After a tough 7-6 loss in their home opener, the Orioles continued to struggle and their bats remained quiet on Saturday and Sunday as the Blue Jays completed a three-game sweep of the O's. On Saturday, the Blue Jays and starter Dana Eveland shut the O's out 3-0, and on Sunday, despite trailing most of the game 2-1, the Blue Jays scored four runs in the eighth and ninth innings in a 5-2 comeback victory.

Although Mike Gonzalez was the scapegoat for the first few games of the season (not that he's off the hook yet, by any means), the real culprit for the O's disappointing start is probably the team's offense, or lack thereof. Granted, that doesn't excuse Gonzalez's poor performance, and of course, barely a week has past in the MLB season, but the Orioles have not looked particularly good at the plate.

In six games, the O's are tied for the third-fewest runs scored with only 19. The O's also have the worst batting average with runners in scoring position (.167) and have scored just 14 runs in 54 at bats in those situations. I doubt that the offense will continue to struggle so much, but it doesn't help that Brian Roberts is possibly headed to the disabled list with an abdominal strain.

On the bright side, Matt Wieters is hitting .409/.458/.545. Eight of his nine hits have been singles (the other a homer), but he's been the best O's hitter so far. Garrett Atkins (.350/.350/.500) has had a decent start to the season, though he hasn't yet drawn a walk. Nick Markakis is hitting just .167 at the moment, but he has the team's second-highest on-base percentage (.444) mainly because he's been patient at the plate and has drawn a team-high nine walks (tied with Adam Dunn for the most in the majors).

Miguel Tejada (.240/.296/.400), Nolan Reimold (.200/.294/.467), Adam Jones (.231/.259/.462), and Luke Scott (.167/.250/.389) have all struggled and are not getting on base enough. Those four have each hit a home run, but they've drawn only four combined walks. With Roberts out, those guys need to step up and play better.

I'd ramble a little more and complain about the team's 1-5 record, but again, they've only played six games and hopefully will turn things around. If the O's continue to receive decent starting pitcher performances, they should start to win more games as the offense scores more runs and takes advantage of scoring opportunities.

Next game: An early season rematch tonight at 7:05 against the Rays as Jeremy Guthrie faces Matt Garza again. Last time, Garza pitched a phenomenal game, throwing eight strong innings and allowing only one earned run.

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