Jun 14, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Bud Norris (25) pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Norris Continues Dominate Stretch for Pitchers

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The Baltimore Orioles cut into the Toronto Blue Jays’ AL East lead with a 3-2 victory Saturday evening.

The Orioles improve to 35-32, while the Blue Jays fall to 40-30 as they hold a three and a half game lead over the Orioles.

Bud Norris continued the pitching staff’s dominate run by allowing only a single run over six and two-thirds innings, which lowers his ERA to 3.74.

Norris’s quality start is the sixth consecutive for the Orioles’ starters, but the team’s record is 4-2 in that stretch.

The record is not terrible, but with the way the Orioles’ offense is set up, the record should be a perfect 6-0.

However, the offense has failed to support good pitching, and it barely did so Saturday evening.

One good thing to note is that both Chris Davis and Manny Machado took advantage of past success against R.A. Dickey. They are both starting to hit again, which should help balance the offense.

The Orioles scored only three runs, which is one short of my definition of a complete team win. The team went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position, which resulted in missed opportunities.

The Orioles are first in the American League and second in all of MLB in hitting with runners in scoring position at .281.

When given the chance to score, the Orioles are able to drive in the runs, but the problem is the chances do not come.

Small ball is something the Orioles do not play very much. When a player is on first base, the Orioles have 109 strikeouts, which is fourth most in the AL.

When breaking down the stats to individual scenarios, the Orioles are batting .403 when there are runners on the corners. Third base is in scoring position, so this distorts the RISP stat with this high average.

With runners on first and second base, the average drops to a shocking .150. The Orioles appear to have a good average with RISP, but the high number comes from being able to bring in runners from third base.

This is not a bad thing, but the Orioles need to improve their numbers with men on second and third.

The Orioles bat .245 when there are RISP with two outs. Even the stats show the Orioles to be inconsistent when it comes to the offense.

With the offensive inconsistency, I am surprised the pitching has been able to remain consistent even over this stretch. The pitching has to come into every game not knowing if the offense will give them any support.

The pitching has to come into every game not knowing if the offense will give them any support.

It must be mentally taxing for the Orioles’ pitchers to have to play like that.

Unless the offense can provide some consistency, I am not sure how much longer the Orioles can pretend to be chasing the Blue Jays for first place.

When the pitchers provide a quality start, the offense needs to come through with the magic number of four runs. Otherwise, the pitching is not always going to be as sharp as it has been the past six games.

In the final game of the series and the homestand, the Orioles’ offense will not bat against a pitcher they have had much success against.

The Orioles have combined for 6-for-31, while scoring only two runs against Blue Jays’ pitcher J.A. Happ, since the beginning of the 2013 season.

The offense will try to support Chris Tillman who comes off a great outing against the Boston Red Sox in which he allowed only one run, but took the loss.

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Tags: Baltimore Orioles

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