Even under Buck, O's stumble a bit

For a while, there was great starting pitching, clutch hitting, walk-off wins and a record of 8-1.

That was the O's mark in their first nine games under Buck Showalter.

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It was quite a honeymoon.

But the O's are 4-8 since then. Have the real Orioles returned?

Last night, with runners on first and third and none out in the second inning, Matt Wieters hit a ground ball to first base. Adam Jones froze at third base and did not score as Chicago turned a 3-6-3 double play. Within a few pitches, a promising rally and a chance to get the lead vs. Gavin Floyd, had fizzled and the O's didn't get one run there.

I'm not picking on Jones here, but that play reminded me of some of the lack of focus we saw from the O's during the season's first few months.

The Orioles still have a winning record under Buck at 12-9 and they still have a shot at their first winning August since 1997.

But they have shown some cracks in their foundation lately, reminding us that Buck is not a miracle man and the club still needs a lot of work.

Sometimes it comes down to the pitching. Over the last three games, O's starters have worked to an ERA of 7.78. Most nights this club can't outslug that and win.

Also some hitters have trailed off a bit as Nick Markakis is batting just .222 over his last 11 games while Matt Wieters is 7 for 37 and Ty Wigginton is 7 for 37 as well.

It's probably just a bump in the road and hopefully not a dead end.

Buck's got a big job here but he knew that the day he signed his O's contract.

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