Olivia Witherite: Orioles dominate after off-days

Off-days are nice for a lot of reasons. For the Orioles today, it means resting Matt Wieters after he caught a day game after a night game and had a big day at the plate. It means a chance for the Birds to rest at home before beginning a tough series against some great pitching, including the arms of C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver. It allows the 'pen, which has been called on often, a day to recuperate in some measure before having to face rookie sensation Mike Trout and some guy named Albert Pujols.

And for the Orioles, it usually means a win the next day.

After an off-day, the Orioles are 7-1 on the season. (You can add in another W if you count the day after the May 10 postponed game.)

For the games the calendar day after a scheduled off-day, the O's have outscored opponents 34-24, with wins over Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Washington, and two wins each against division rivals Toronto and Boston.

In these games, the surprising thing is that the starters have not been all that effective. With the exception of Jason Hammel and his eight-inning, one-run gem on June 12, the starters in these games - Tommy Hunter, Wei-Yin Chen and Hammel - have not gone more than 6 1/3 innings. In the eight games, the starters' ERA is 3.38, which definitely gives the O's and their home run power a chance to win, but is not that noteworthy.

What has really been lights out is the 'pen. With the starters lacking the ability to go deep into games, the bullpen has shut down its opponents, holding them to eight runs over the eight starts. The loss included, the bullpen has pitched to a 2.57 ERA. The relievers have prevented batters from scoring at all in five of the eight games and have pitched into extras twice.

The offense has also surged. In the eight games, the O's have produced 41 runs and 10 home runs.

I mean, I'm no psychology expert, but I've learned from my one college psych class that correlation does not equal causation. Will the Orioles immediately pick up their bats, breaking their stat of being 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position in the last three games? Will they be able to score some runs? They have only scored eight in their last six games combined. Will the bullpen be immediately locked in to shut down the Pujols and the Angels?

That's not what I'm saying, but at least we can be optimistic going into Tuesday that the Orioles have the potential, and the track record, to come out of the off-day ready to face a tough Angels team.

Olivia Witherite blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and her opinions appear here as part of MASN's season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. 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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