The Orioles’ starting pitchers failed to produce a quality start and gave up nine runs and 24 hits over 16 2/3 innings in the Boston series. The O’s batters produced just seven runs in three games.
Not hard to look at those numbers and understand how the Orioles lost two of three to the Red Sox.
Even with that, they went to the last inning down a run last night in a 4-3 game. The hitters, who produced just a .216 average and four extra-base hits in the series, went down quickly against Koji Uehara. On his 39th birthday, the former Orioles reliever retired the O’s on just seven pitches in the ninth. Have to make him work a little harder than that, don’t they?
So the Orioles lost a series, just the fourth in the last 15 series between the teams. Even with the loss, the Orioles are 25-15 against Boston since the start of the 2012 season and 42-34 since going 2-16 against Boston in the 2009 season.
The Red Sox were better in that series, but the O’s will get another shot at them later.
Maybe in a loss, there were some small signs of the offense getting going. Nick Markakis had his first two-hit game. Chris Davis hit one off the wall in center field. Matt Wieters had three hits and Adam Jones pulled a ball, just missing a two-run homer in the sixth inning that would have tied the game.
On another note, Zach Britton is throwing the heck out of the baseball right now with a power sinker that can touch the mid-90s. Britton is getting late, heavy sink on his pitches and has thrown four scoreless innings over two outings.
Should the O’s consider a return to the rotation for the lefty at some point?
Maybe at some point, but I don’t think that should come anytime soon. There are a few reasons for that.
For one, let’s see how the current rotation fares over a couple of turns through. The Orioles feel like their starting pitching is improved, so let’s wait a bit and see whether that’s the case.
For two, Britton has finally found his sinker again and maybe the O’s should not mess with a good thing. Let him keep going, have some success over an extended period and see where it all leads.
Having a pitcher that can go multiple innings and give the team that kind of stuff is a real weapon. Britton’s start to the year is very encouraging and let’s see if he can keep it going.
So now the O’s move on to Detroit, where over the next three days they are scheduled to face Anibal Sanchez, Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander. Those pitchers combined to go 40-28 with an ERA of 3.45 in 2013.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Orioles. Through one series, they need better starting pitching and more offense. Let’s see if they find that in Detroit.