Anthony Amobi: For O's, a rough patch or time to panic?

Last night, the Orioles got swept by the Toronto Blue Jays in their three-game series up north in Canada and lost their fifth straight game.

We all know that the Birds have had quite an remarkable run during the first two months of the season. To say that they have surprised everyone - fans, the local and national media alike - is an understatement. However, at this point, are the Orioles collapsing, or is this just an extraordinarily lousy stretch?

They have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games.

It has not been a delightful two weeks for the Orioles. However, they are only 51 games into the season.

Thankfully, it is an extraordinarily long campaign for Baltimore and the other 29 teams in the sport, but I can imagine the nerves of fans in Birdland are being pushed to the brink now.

During a break in the game in a softball league I play in, a player who is a Phillies fan asked me, "The Orioles are playing well, but you are you optimistic?"

I responded, "They've been amazing and yeah, I'm optimistic - but cautiously. I'm hoping for the best, and it's a very long season. I've been watching them every night, but day in and day out, you realize just how long the season is. Anything can happen at this point."

The first six weeks were something to behold, as the Orioles looked like contenders and took the baseball world by storm. However, the starting pitching - which had been a hallmark early - has started to suffer. Jason Hammel and Wei-Yei Chen have been amazing, but Brian Matusz has had his ups and downs. Plus, Jake Arrieta and the demoted Tommy Hunter have had issues with consistency.

I think the game is 80 to 90 percent pitching, and if the Orioles cannot do it on the mound, it will not matter how many runs they score.

In addition, they have had issues with pushing runs across home plate, especially with runners in scoring position.

The offense has struggled mightily as of late. Adam Jones - who saw his 20-game hitting streak end last night - has been carrying the team, but he will need more help from his teammates. With Matt Wieters scuffling, Nick Markakis hurting, and Mark Reynolds just coming off the disabled list and barely hitting his body weight, where are the runs going to come from?

Amazingly, they are still in first place in the American League East with a 29-22 record, tied with the Tampa Bay Rays - only by virtue of the Rays being swept by the surging Chicago White Sox.

We know anything can happen, but being a fan for the last 14 years, I'm hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.

Every team goes through peaks and valleys throughout the season, but I'm sure fans are pretty nervous about this team right now.

As of this morning, every team in the American League East is over .500 - quite a remarkable feat this far into the season. We all knew this division was going to be competitive, but I do not think anyone was expecting this.

I'm sure there were will be movement of the various teams in the AL East this month, and a lot will be figured out soon.

Everyone will be watching what the Orioles will be doing in the next week as they face off against the Rays, Boston Red Sox and then the Philadelphia Phillies.

Where they will end up, who knows.

It is going to be a tough stretch for the next two weeks. Maybe a day off will do the Birds some good.

That being said, what do you all think?

Anthony Amobi blogs about the Orioles at Oriole Post. His observations about the O's appear as part of MASNsports.com's 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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