Mar 11, 2015; Sarasota, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) at bat against the Toronto Blue Jays at a spring training game at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
New York City is a nice place to visit, but after a week of games there, the Baltimore Orioles will surely be glad to be back at home in Camden Yards. The Birds could only manage to salvage one victory in the six games in the big city, dropping a Sunday finale 6-2 to the Yankees.
How does a starting pitcher win a game? How about this from Michael Pineda: seven innings, 111 pitches with 81 of them as strikes – totaling 16 strikeouts.
How does a starting pitcher lose a games? How about throwing 3.1 inning with 88 pitches – 43 strikes and 45 balls. That is what Bud Norris did, though we do understand that he was sick and trying to save the bullpen by doing what he could do.
Pineda was helped out a good bit by a generous strike zone. You can throw a lot of strikes if the umpire will give you some of them that are six inches off the plate. The normally docile Ryan Flaherty had this happen to him on a third strike, and it looked almost like he was about to get tossed for his reaction.
But it did not matter on this day what the strike zone was. Pineda was going to win this game, as it was one of the best-pitched games against the Orioles in recent years. The big Dominican is good – really, really good.
Any Chance of a Turnaround Soon?
So with the Orioles now at a record of 13-16, what are the chances that they can turn things around sometime soon? After all, there just seems to be too much talent on this team to see them play as they have been on too many occasions in this early season. The O’s have definitely run into some teams playing at the top of their game – like two such outfits in the past week with “NY” on the caps.
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When did the Birds turn it around in 2014 after also having a slow start? The answer to this question is not as clear as we might imagine.
After 29 games last year, the Orioles were two games better than their current situation – standing at that point at 15-14. But they then rattled off five consecutive victories, though they would also lose eight of the following 11 games.
With the challenges faced by the Orioles this year, is it imaginable that they could win 22 of the next 40 games? That is not a big stretch. If they accomplished this, it would place them at 35-34, the same record as the team had after 69 games in 2014.
But aren’t the Orioles actually in a worse position than a year ago … playing worse, hitting worse, pitching worse? Actually, the current team batting average is .269, whereas it was .264 after 29 games last season. The current team ERA is 4.33, whereas it was 4.28 at this point of 2014.
So it is remarkably similar. And Baltimore Orioles fans are hoping the rest of the season will produce a similar turnaround. I believe it will happen.