The Orioles need to upgrade their pitching. They need to tighten up their defense.
It’s not the same set of issues I remember them having when I was a kid.
They can still hit the longball, which Earl Weaver would appreciate. Their 105 home runs rank third in the majors behind the Yankees (126) and Blue Jays (122). They clubbed three last night in the first four innings against the Angels, who were begging to be beaten.
A 7-3 lead disappeared before the Orioles stepped to the plate again in the top of the fifth, which led to a 9-7 loss and Jake Arrieta’s demotion to Triple-A Norfolk following the game.
He’s the third Orioles starter to be sent down since June 30. Only Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen are left standing since opening day.
The rotation has produced a 4.78 ERA that ranks 27th among 30 teams in the majors, ahead of only the Royals (5.00), Twins (5.84) and Rockies (6.26). The bullpen’s efficiency, which is waning, lowers the overall ERA to 4.05 - 18th in the majors.
If only the defense could move toward the middle of the pack. It’s still sunk at the bottom, as if having a rock tied to its ankles.
The Orioles committed two more errors last night, giving them 74 on the season, most in the majors. They’re seven ahead of the Rays, whose 3.68 ERA and 3.72 rotation ERA rank seventh in the majors.
At this point, improving the rotation is the top priority for Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. It all starts with starting pitching.
All the three-run homers in the world aren’t going to save this club if three-fifths of the rotation is riding the shuttle to Norfolk.
Update: The Orioles are on pace to make 146 errors this season, which would tie for the third-highest total in club history (1959). Only the 1955 (167) and 1954 (147) teams committed more errors in a season.