Pondering some O's questions

Taking a look at some questions and, as always, seeking your answers to some Orioles topics this morning:

Why is Adam Jones struggling on defense? He seems to be getting some poor jumps, poor reads and sometimes running poor routes. Not a good combination. Jones can be a lightning rod for criticism and those waiting for some material to criticize are getting it.

It seems almost every ball hit his way these days is a tough chance, but they are plays with a degree of difficulty that we have seen him make before. He doesn't seem to ever lack confidence and he hates questions about confidence, but you have to wonder right now.

Buck Showalter came to his defense on the "O's Xtra" postgame show last night and really, did anyone expect him to throw his center fielder under the bus? It doesn't mean it is not being addressed out of the media spotlight.

Jones himself has said he needs to "clean it up" and we are still waiting. No doubt he can do it, no doubt he has in the past and no doubt he can be a very good center fielder again. But right now, his defense is shaky and that is one concern this team didn't figure to have this year.

Why is Pedro Strop struggling? When Strop was dominant at times in the World Baseball Classic, I predicted he would have a big year for the Orioles. But right now he's a bit of a mess out there. Whether it is mechanics or whatever, when he throws a few pitches out of the zone, he can't seem to get his command back.

Over his last three games, he has managed to not allow an earned run in 1 1/3 innings, but in that stretch he has walked four, hit one and issued two wild pitches. He has thrown 47 pitches and just 19 for strikes. That is not even close to good.

He is out of options and it may be hard for the Orioles to fix this issue while also keeping him on the roster, but it would be a shock if they would expose him to waivers, and even with these struggles, they surely would lose him. I can't see much chance of them risking that.

Are the Orioles getting enough innings from their starters? Yeah, you know the answer to that one. Not nearly enough. Wei-Yin Chen's four innings last night ties for the shortest outing of his career.

Over the last four games, O's starters have pitched just 20 1/3 innings, allowing 32 hits and 17 earned runs for an ERA of 7.53. The starters' ERA on the season is up to 4.72.

It was just one game, one loss and we should not overreact to that, but the O's looked bad Wednesday at Seattle. They are still four games over .500, but as they head to Los Angeles now, they still have some issues yet to be resolved.

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