BOSTON - If you think the Orioles have hit a rough patch, consider what’s happening at Triple-A Norfolk.
The Tides gave up three touchdowns last night and lost to Charlotte 21-4.
Outfielder Jason Pridie, pitching for the first time since high school, threw two fastballs and recorded the final out.
Pridie tweeted that his two-seamer had some nice movement. Good to know, just in case the Orioles get lured into another 17-inning marathon.
The Orioles are off today, and center fielder Adam Jones is hosting a private screening of “42,” the biographical film about the life of baseball player Jackie Robinson. When they meet up again Wednesday at Fenway Park, the roster figures to retain the same look as it had yesterday.
Manager Buck Showalter expects Nolan Reimold to avoid the disabled list. And he doesn’t have any intention of shaking things up by recalling a player or selecting a contract from Norfolk or Double-A Bowie.
We’re only seven games into the season. Too soon to hit the panic button, and too soon to worry about needing another hitter.
Showalter almost seemed offended by the mere suggestion yesterday.
The club’s designated hitters are a combined 1-for-23, with Reimold providing the only hit. Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty were a combined 0-for-7 with three strikeouts yesterday. Pearce is 0-for-10 with five strikeouts. Flaherty is 0-for-14 with six strikeouts.
It’s OK to admit that you underestimated the importance of Wilson Betemit, a .302/.357/.502 hitter last year against right-handed pitching who’s still on crutches. He would have started yesterday against Boston’s Clay Buchholz.
Runs haven’t been a big issue up to this point. The Orioles scored seven, seven, six, nine and five in their first five games before totaling three on Sunday and barely avoiding a shutout with Jones’ ninth-inning solo homer yesterday. Going into yesterday, they led the American League in average (.301) and hits (65) and were second in OPS (.826) and on-base percentage (.359). They were third in slugging percentage (.468).
The starting pitching has been more challenged, but hey, when a team loses three in a row and falls below .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season, blame gets spread in many directions.
The Orioles didn’t need a big bat for the middle of the order when Chris Davis was doing his Babe Ruth impression. Now I’m hearing again that they whiffed by not adding a big bat for the middle of their order.
It’s a 162-game season. Probably a little too soon to make definitive judgments on this team.
As Pridie tweeted last night, “The beauty of baseball is the length of the season and the daily games. Allows for very short memory.”
Flaherty, of course, would like to forget this first week. As the potential tying run yesterday, he popped up to end the game with J.J. Hardy standing on second base.
“Obviously, nobody wants to start the season 0-for, whatever it is, 14 or something,” Flaherty said. “I’ve got to be more productive at the plate. The last couple of days, I’ve felt better, I’ve swung at better pitches, but it’s not enough. I’d like to get it going.”
Flaherty has to be careful not to start pressing and making his situation worse. He knows that the second base job is open with Brian Roberts on the disabled list. He knows that he has three minor league options now that he’s past his Rule 5 season. He can do the math.
“Obviously, you get an opportunity to play, no matter when it is, you want to go out there and do your best to give your team a chance to win,” he said. “Every time you get your name in the lineup, it’s a chance to show what you can do and help out.”