Some notes on the Orioles’ pitching and offense (updated)

After the Orioles’ pitching staff gave up 31 runs in the four games of the Yankees series, the Birds staff has allowed just four in two games against Tampa Bay.

In fact, the Orioles are 5-1 in their last six games against the Rays, allowing just eight total runs in those six games.

The starters had gone six consecutive games without a quality start, pitching to an ERA of 6.67 in that time, until Miguel Gonzalez delivered one last night, allowing just two runs over six innings.

When the Orioles get a quality start this year, they are 58-8.

In the two games of this series, the O’s starters have allowed just three earned runs over 9 2/3 for an ERA of 2.79. The bullpen’s ERA in the Yankees series was 7.64, and it is 1.08 (one earned run over 8 1/3) against the Rays.

Meanwhile, the Orioles’ offense has picked up the pace in recent games. They have scored 35 runs in the six games on this homestand, 63 runs the last 10 games and 102 over the past 17.

Remember when the Orioles looked like they’d never get another clutch hit? Well they are batting .362 (21-for-58) with runners in scoring position over the past eight games.

Nate McLouth looks like he will do just fine in the leadoff spot. He is 4-for-10 with three runs and an RBI (a big one) in this series. He is batting .371 (13-for-35) over his last 10 games with four doubles.

Mark Reynolds is hitless and homerless over the past three games. But he still has hit five in his last eight games, nine in the last 12 and has 12 homers over is last 27 games.

J.J. Hardy is 5-for-9 with a double, two homers and five RBIs in this series. Over his past 18 games, Hardy is batting .319 (23-for-72) with six doubles, five homers and 14 RBIs.

The Orioles today have a chance for their first three-game home sweep of Tampa Bay since July 24-26, 2007.

The Orioles didn’t homer last night, but they have hit 17 over the last seven games and have four games of three or more in that span.

Through five today: The Orioles are down 1-0 to Tampa heading to the sixth. They have three hits off Jeremy Hellickson so far. He is 5-3 with a 2.70 ERA in his career vs. the Orioles, who have hit into two double plays today.

A win today, of course, would officially end the Orioles streak of 14 consecutive losing seasons. They would have 81 wins and be guaranteed at least a .500 season. They’ve got some work to do in this one yet.

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