The Baltimore Orioles are beginning to put together some complete team wins. This is happening after I said they were not playing like a team.
The Orioles must have been reading my article, because they have turned it around. The pitching is doing very well, and the offense is reaching the magic number of four.
With the win against the Texas Rangers, the Orioles are now 29-27 and second in the AL East, pulling ahead of the New York Yankees by a half-game.
Tuesday night the Orioles doubled their magic number with eight runs and only giving up three runs. Ubaldo Jimenez pitched much better than earlier starts with only allowing one earned run.
His control was not perfect as he allowed four walks, but his pitching has improved over his recent starts.
The bullpen allowed two runs, but they kept the game in control. Very surprisingly, the bullpen has been playing worse than the starting pitching of recent.
Since the beginning of the Texas road trip in Houston, the Orioles’ pitching has given up 13 runs. The starting pitching has only given up six runs of those 13.
Over the past three wins, the starters have given up one run each, though only Jimenez did not receive a win because of the late-offense.
The last three wins are what I consider complete team wins. The starting pitching holds the opposing team down below four runs, the bullpen keeps the lead, and the offense reaches the mark of four runs.
Though the offense put up eight runs, I will be the person that points out the bad in the good.
With those eight runs, the Orioles left 11 men on base. Before finishing the night 6-for-14 with runners in scoring position, the Orioles were 2-for-9 heading into the eighth inning.
With three complete team wins, the offense left 23 men on base, while scoring 21 runs. There is still work to be done to score even more runs.
I believe a good bit of the problem with leaving men on base is by having Chris Davis in the four and five spot in the lineup.
He is not hitting right now, so he is not driving in runs when his spot comes up. Davis has had many chances to do so, but just cannot get the key hit.
Even with that, the Orioles are still one of the top teams with runners in scoring position with a .285 batting average.
Beyond the team wins, Buck Showalter has been managing games slightly different.
Showalter pulled Jimenez from the game after just five and two-thirds innings with a single run given up. He did the same thing in the last game of the Houston series by pulling Wei-Yin Chen after just five and a third innings pitched.
Chen only gave up one run on four hits.
Showalter is recognizing that the pitchers may be doing well, but that has drastically changed with just one batter in the past. He is not taking chances by leaving starting pitchers in too long.
I think this should be sending a message to those pitchers. Chen was extremely unhappy when he was pulled from the game.
Not every pitcher is going to be as unhappy as Chen was, but I hope they realize that they need to improve to go deeper into games. Then, maybe, Showalter will give them the chance to close out an inning with two men on and two outs, instead of taking them out of the game.
These past several games have been good signs, but the inconsistency of the Orioles’ game-play makes me hesitate from believing they have it all figured out.
With the Orioles riding a six-game win streak since last season against the Rangers, the next two games should give the Birds the lift they need before heading home.
Tags: Baltimore Orioles