Aug 25, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles left fielder Delmon Young (27) bats in the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the Rays 9-1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: What Missing Offense?

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So who would say or write that there is a missing offense of the Baltimore Orioles? It seems ridiculous to worry about something like that from a team that can hit five home runs in one evening on its way to a 9-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Let’s coin a new descriptor for the Orioles offense. Let’s just call it “offensive bipolar disorder.” It is either very high or very low. The same team that got one hit on Sunday, and only scored four runs in three games against the Cubs, is the same squad a day later that scores six runs on seven hits including three homers—all in one inning!

Writers everywhere will today be using the word picture of “home cooking” as the reason for the outburst. I don’t think so. But whatever it is, it defies explanation. A Monday night pre-game MASN Network interview with Batting Coach Jim Presley was not inspiring, as he pretty much said he had no explanation for the highs and lows—other than to rehearse a litany of pitchers faced, weather conditions, etc.

Whatever the reason, Orioles fan will be glad to take it. And everyone may look back at this night as a critical moment in the season—an important “bounce back” moment in a season filled with resilience and determination. The O’s needed the win, as the Yankees also won their fifth straight game to remain six games behind in the AL East (although the Blue Jays lost).

Baltimore starter Chris Tillman took the mound for the seventh time this season after an Orioles loss. On each occasion the Birds have come back with a win.

It looked immediately to be a game the Orioles were going to need a great effort from their starter. Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi came in as the #4 pitcher in the American League in strikeouts-per-nine-innings at 10.1, and he was off to a good beginning. He struck out three Birds in the first two innings, and Tampa Bay opened to a 1-0 lead with an unearned run.

But in the end, Odorizzi would stink up the joint by giving up eight runs on 11 hits in just four innings. Having yielded an average of only one home run in every 10 innings this year, the Orioles touched him for four of them: a two-run blast by Nick Markakis, followed by a huge homer by Steve Pearce; and then later the big blow of a three-run moon-shot by Delmon Young with an immediate reprise by J.J. Hardy. After a pitching change, Chris Davis made it three in a row for the Orioles, and the final score of 9-1 was registered.  

As much as Saturday night’s debacle with lucky Cubs’ hits and the weather descending upon the Orioles was clearly a no-win scenario for the O’s, this evening was just the opposite. It can’t always be this way, and we don’t expect it to be; but we would like to see it happen about 95 times in a season. Is that asking for too much? Even from a team with Offensive Bipolar Disorder?

The second of four games with the Rays will have the pitching matchup on Tuesday night of Wei-Yin Chen (13-4, 3.76) against Alex Cobb (9-6, 3.01).

If you missed seeing Adam Jones’ fabulous catch and throw, or if you want to see it again, here it is (from MLB.com):

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