Good morning, Birdland!
The season is only 11 games old, but it’s already longer than I expected the Orioles to play like this. Every single night, the team is getting solid, sometimes spectacular, pitching performances. And every night the offense puts up one, maybe two, runs in a losing effort. Andrea recapped the latest disappointment, a 2-1 loss to the Athletics on Tuesday evening.
Chris Ellis came up from Norfolk to deliver 4.1 scoreless innings en route to a no decision. This came the night after Spenser Watkins allowed just one run over five innings, also saddled with a no decision. Meanwhile, the Orioles have scored two total runs over the last two games. More often than not, that is going to land you in the loss column.
Many have noted that this could be the result of an altered approach at the plate for the O’s. Their 11.1% walk rate is second-best in baseball while their 28.2% strikeout rate is the absolute worst. That is a fine formula if they add power into the equation, but to this point that has not been the case. The Orioles four home runs are the fewest in MLB, and their .289 slugging percentage is third-worst.
While the O’s were never expected to have the most potent offense in the league, there should be plenty of firepower here to score a handful of runs a night and win more often. But it’s difficult to do when half the lineup is slumping and even the hottest hitter (Anthony Santander, 164 OPS+) has only hit one bomb.
It will get better, but the pitching may not be there to support it by that point.
Orioles Designate DJ Stewart For Assignment | MLB Trade Rumors
This had been a long time coming. There are reasons to believe DJ Stewart can be a productive major league hitter, but he had run out of chances to prove it with the Orioles. Maybe he clears waivers and ends up back in Norfolk, but hopefully—for his sake—another club adds him to their 40-man roster and gives him a chance to DH.
Thoughts on Bradish, Rodriguez and Stewart | Roch Kubatko
How well the Orioles pitchers have performed is keeping the fans from getting too heated about a delayed promotion for Kyle Bradish. But that time could be coming soon. It all depends on how long Ellis, Watkins, and even Jordan Lyles are able to put forth competent big league starts.
How John Means’ injury could serve as an accelerant for whatever the Orioles already planned this season | Jon Meoli
Some parallel thinking here between Kubatko and Meoli. I’m not sure how much things will be accelerated though. Mike Elias has been pretty stubborn in sticking to his preferred path. He signs next to no free agents. He doesn’t trade away intriguing prospects. He does not add on salary. He does not rush players through the minors. Without the promise of playoff baseball, I don’t see that changing.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
No former Orioles were born on this day, but you do share a day with musician Luther Vandross (1951-2005), longtime Yankee Don Mattingly (b. 1961), and actress Carmen Electra (b. 1972).
This day in O’s history
1988 - The Orioles set a major league record by losing their 14th straight game to begin the season. They would lose 21 contests to set the current record.