Don’t panic Birdland, don’t panic.
In this social media age, which includes our blog comments here, we saw some big-time venting after the Orioles’ loss last night. The fans now can react publicly and immediately and they do when it doesn’t go well.
Don’t hold it in, I guess.
OK, let’s talk big picture first. The Orioles have won 15 of 25 games. They have won four straight series. They are 4-1 in five AL East series and 9-6 in AL East games. They are 8-5 in road games.
They even look good in run differential right now at a plus-25 to rank third in the AL. Remember how much time we wasted, er, I mean, spent on that stat last year.
After 25 games in 2012, they were 16-9 and one game out of first. After 25 this year, they are 15-10 and three games out of first.
The Red Sox have played 13 games already against teams with a current losing record. The Yankees have played 12. The Orioles have played nine.
But there have been two big bullpen meltdowns. In the season’s second game, the O’s blew a 4-0 lead in the sixth at Tampa Bay and lost 8-7. That night, the ‘pen gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings, including two homers. Yesterday, the bullpen lost leads of 6-4 in the seventh and 8-6 in the ninth. The ‘pen gave up five runs, including two homers, over 3 2/3 frames.
Of the 24 earned runs allowed by the bullpen on the year, 10 came in those two games.
As for Pedro Strop, some have forgotten that as of Sept. 3 last year, he had an ERA of 1.83 and average against of .190. In the playoffs, he pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in the ALDS and was the winning pitcher with two innings of shutout relief in the had-to-have-it Game 4. Lose there and they don’t get to Game 5.
But, yes, Strop is struggling badly now and a segment of fans were hoping the Orioles told him to catch the wrong flight last night. They want him cut now. They wanted him cut last night.
I don’t see it happening. He’s out of options and I just think management has a long memory. They’ve seen him pitch well in the regular season, in the playoffs and in the WBC.
At just 27, he’s too young to give up on and I will be shocked if they do. But how will they get him pitching well again without a minor league assignment?
They can try to pitch him in lower-pressure situations, but he came in with a four-run lead Saturday and lasted just two batters. We’ll see how Buck and the brass handle this one.
The Orioles have not been a perfect team. They need more innings from their starters, tighter defense some nights and they need Strop to get his command and maybe his confidence back, too.
But they went 3-16 the previous five years at Oakland and 3-1 the last four games at Oakland. Keep it all in mind, Birdland.