O's offense trending up, now can pitching get in line? (More offense tonight)

The Orioles have somewhat quietly put together a real nice run on offense. They rank third in the American League and also third in MLB with 232 runs scored.

Over the last 12 games, that offense has been humming real well with a team average of .302 and 62 runs scored with 33 doubles, three triples and 21 homers.

The Orioles averaged 3.2 extra-base hits a game during the season's first 35 games and that number is 4.8 over these last dozen games.

The downside is all those hits and runs have led to just four wins in the last 12 games. The offense has not been able to overcome a stretch where the starters were often pitching five innings or less.

Last night, the O's bullpen gave up eight runs, six walks and a grand slam in three innings. Jim Johnson suffered three blown saves in this stretch. The bullpen ERA is 7.84 since the start of that last homestand, a nine-game stretch.

Also this weekend, the O's staff is facing a suddenly hot Toronto club which has won seven of its last 10 games. During that stretch, the Blue Jays are scoring 6.4 runs per game and slugging .476. Over their first 37 games, Toronto was scoring 3.8 runs per game and slugging .397.

The O's have to figure out a way to get J.P. Arencibia out tonight. Over his last eight games against the Orioles, he is 13-for-24 (.542) with three homers and 11 RBIs. Meanwhile, Edwin Encarnacion has five homers in his last 26 at-bats versus the Orioles.

Call me crazy, but those two look a little more formidable in the middle of an order than Travis Hafner and Lyle Overbay.

Right now, those Orioles runs are going to waste in the win-loss column. The Orioles are on a good roll at bat right now, but some of the pitching struggles have made it hard to notice.

Homer barrage continues: In just the first three innings tonight, the Orioles have hit three more homers. This is the fourth straight game they have hit three homers and they now have hit 23 in the last 11 games.

J.J. Hardy hit a three-run shot in the first off Sean Nolin, who gave up six runs in just 1 1/3 innings, and the O's added two in the third off Ramon Ortiz with a Chris Davis solo shot (his 16th) and a Danny Valencia two-run shot (his first).

That offense I spoke of here has clearly continued so far tonight. The O's moved out to a 9-3 lead in the third inning as they try to even this series.

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