(Aug 19-21) Baltimore Struggles against Tampa Bay
The Baltimore Orioles faced a pivotal series against the Tampa Rays, a team that they’ve struggled against all season long, for three games between Aug. 19 and Aug. 21. The O’s had already lost six of their nine games against the Rays this season, and made it one more in a 4-3 loss in the First Game of the series.
The Orioles were able to generate offense against Rays ace pitcher and reigning Cy Young winner David Price, collecting 15 hits in the game. But they were unable to bring those baserunners home, scoring just three runs. Baltimore’s best starting pitcher, Chris Tillman, had a chance to earn his 15th win, but gave up four earned runs and instead fell to 14-4.
Baltimore may have had success against Price in the first game with the Rays, but it was the exact opposite in the Second Game against Rays’ right-hand pitcher Alex Cobb as the Orioles recorded just five hits in the 7-4 loss.
The O’s were able to steal the Third Game of the series with a 4-2 win, thanks to a pair of homeruns from Adam Jones and Chris Davis, who smashed his 46th homerun of the season. Matt Wieters also made an excellent throw from home base to shortstop J.J. Hardy to catch the Rays’ Kelly Johnson in a steal attempt, ending the game.
(Aug. 23-24) O’s Split First Two against A’s
After losing two to the Rays, Baltimore still had plenty of ground to make up in the race for a wild card berth, trailing the Oakland Athletics by three games. But Baltimore was able to cut that deficit to two games with a 9-7 win on Aug. 23 in the First Game of a three-game series against, conveniently, Oakland itself.
Adam Jones hit his 27th homerun and had three RBI, while Brian Roberts mashed a key grand slam to rally the O’s, but the highlight of the win was closer Jim Johnson ending a brief slump and collecting his 40th save of the season. Johnson had blown three straight saves coming into the game but pitched a perfect ninth inning, throwing eight strikes in nine pitches.
Unfortunately the Orioles lost the ground they had gained with a 2-1 loss in the Second Game of the series. Baltimore mustered only five hits in the game as starter Chris Tillman once again failed to get his 15th win of the season.
The week was a disappointment for Bird Land. The Orioles (69-59) lost three of five games, and counted seven losses in their last 11 games. This is absolutely the wrong time of the season to fall into losing slumps, especially to teams ahead in the standings. With just 34 games left on Baltimore’s schedule, the O’s can’t afford any more losing streaks if they want to make the playoffs.
O’s Player of the Week: Matt Wieters
Wieters recorded six hits, five runs, five RBI and two homeruns during the week. He also had one of the most impressive defensive plays, delivering a game-ending throw from home base to catch a runner trying to steal second base.
The Orioles start off the week by closing out their series with the A’s. After an off day on Monday, they will hit the road to face the Boson Red Sox in a three-game series on Aug. 27 to Aug. 29, then travel to New York to play the Yankees for three games on Aug. 30 to Sept. 1.