Last night was a real rarity for the Orioles. Not only did they lose for just the sixth time this year when their starting pitcher produced a quality start, but they lost for just the second time when their starter went seven innings or more.
Tommy Hunter gave up just three runs over seven innings, but took the 3-1 loss at Cleveland. It was the sixth straight quality start for the Orioles - a season high - and the starters' ERA is 2.21 in those half-dozen contests.
The Orioles are now 23-2 when their starter goes seven innings or more. They began the year 17-0 in such games before Jake Arrieta gave up four runs over seven frames on June 18 at New York, but lost 5-0 to R.A. Dickey and the Mets.
It was frustrating to see the Orioles get a very solid pitching performance but lose the game. They went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position. Not many chances, but no hits in those spots.
Here are the updated RISP stats:
* O's went 4-for-29 at Cleveland (.138 avg)
* O's are 6-for-48 the last seven games (.125 avg)
* O's are 14-for-93 the last 13 games (.151 avg)
* O's are 36-for-236 the past 33 games (.153)
That is a .153 average with RISP since a mid-June home series where the Orioles scored 27 runs in three games against Pittsburgh, hitting .375 then (12-for-32) with RISP.
Ten times in the last 14 games, the Orioles have had one or no hits with runners in scoring position in a game.
In 96 games this season, the Orioles have gone without a RISP hit 31 times and they actually won 13 of those games.
Why are the Orioles struggling so badly in these spots? Do they press in these situations? Do the hitters chase too many pitches then? Are their hitters just not good with RISP?
It seems too often the O's hitters expand the zone when they come up in these spots. As hitters have told me over the years, you need to remember that it is the pitcher who is the one in trouble at that time. He needs to come through then and make the big pitch.
Maybe that is the time to take a pitch or two and make the pitcher prove he will throw strikes then. Maybe other hitters think the pitcher needs a strike there and will groove the first pitch.
What is your take?: Why have the Orioles struggled with RISP?