Stacey Long: A frustrating loss still provides hope

Last night's game was one of the more frustrating losses of the year. The Orioles had baserunners in every inning, usually more than one. They had so many chances to score runs and just couldn't do it. It was a hard game to watch. But it's also the kind of game that, in retrospect, has a lot of positives to take from it. It's easy to say that the Orioles couldn't come through in the clutch, but the fact is that usually when a team gets 15 baserunners, they'll score more than two runs. So it's easy to complain that the hitters didn't get the job done, but what should be focused on is the formerly ice-cold offense that is now heating up.

Derrek Lee, who has gotten off to a slow start (power-wise especially), contributed three hits including a home run. Nick Markakis, who has been slumping badly since the season started, had two solid hits. Adam Jones, despite the terrible strikeout at the end of the game, had three hits including a hustling double. Vladimir Guerrero added two hits and Mark Reynolds doubled.

And that's not even considering the starting pitching. Jeremy Guthrie didn't have have his best game of the year, but he pitched seven innings when most of the starting pitchers haven't been able to get past the sixth. He was unfortunately unable to get any run support, but if he keeps pitching as well as he has, it'll even out.

After struggling to score runs for most of the season, the Orioles averaged six runs per game in their four-game series with the White Sox and even with the small army of men left on the bases last night, look like a team poised to break out offensively. If they can take their newfound skills into Kansas City they'll return to Baltimore this weekend in good shape.

Stacey Long blogs about the Orioles at Camden Chat. Read Long's Orioles observations this week, as MASNsports.com begins a season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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