With improved pitching, but a lack of offense, O’s are treading water right now

There are those among you that insist the Orioles are nothing more than a .500 team that will fall short of a playoff berth this season.

The last 10 games gave that opinion more credibility.

While the clubhouse take seemed to be that the club is fine and they’ll be more chances to face Toronto later in the year, this was the chance for the Orioles to trim their first-place deficit to 2 1/2 games against a Toronto team that was not playing as well as it once was. The Birds faced J.A. Happ who had an ERA of 6.11 in his last three starts.

For the third game in a row, the Orioles scored three or fewer runs. In fact that happened six times during a 5-5 homestand and the Orioles went 1-5 in those games.

I can’t help but wonder if the Orioles wasted some real good pitching performances. They got seven straight quality starts, yet went 4-3 and not 6-1 in those games. They were shutout twice and scored two runs in the other game they lost.

They got nine quality starts during the homestand. With a little more offense they could have gone 7-3, not 5-5. The O’s starters have an ERA of 1.54 over the last seven games, yet, again a 4-3 record was all that was produced.

I just don’t understand why the O’s offense is not doing better at Camden Yards.

The Orioles average 5.09 runs per game on a .280 team batting average on the road. They average 3.18 runs per game on a .246 team batting average at home.

At a time when the O’s have recorded a season-best seven straight quality starts, their offense has gone a season-long nine straight games with fewer than 10 hits.

Is the Orioles’ cup right now half empty or half full?

Is this team going to reach a point where it takes off or are they what they are? A club that can hold its own, but not get much over .500.

The Orioles are probably getting less offense than expected from the catcher spot and all four infield spots. That is going to get better right? If it does maybe the team will eventually take off.

The Orioles have played 68 games. They are still about two weeks from the half-way point of the season. Long way to go.

But at this point of the season the Orioles are not showing signs of a team that can get on a roll, although there is still plenty of time for exactly that to happen.

Take on Bundy: Last night was a big night for a young pitcher that is still the Orioles’ No. 1 ranked prospect. Dylan Bundy pitched in a game for the first time since September of 2012 and gave up one run over five innings for short-season Single-A Aberdeen at Hudson Valley.

It was a nice first step in the next phase of the comeback for Bundy from Tommy John surgery.

He was pitching at 91 to 93 mph with his fastball and the velocity figures to slowly, but surely come all the way back. His stuff will very likely slowly but surely come all the way back.

Right now we just don’t know if or when Bundy can pitch for the Orioles this year. For now we just have to give him time to continue to get his arm strength back and once again get used to pitching in a pro rotation.

It’s too soon to put much into the results or analyze or over-analyze what Bundy is doing. That day will come, but it’s not now. But his rehab is going great and I’m sure throughout the O’s organization many were delighted to once again see his name in a boxscore.

Bundy audio: Click here to take a listen to some highlights and postgame interviews with Bundy and Aberdeen catcher Jonah Heim from last night. The audio is courtesy of Aberdeen broadcaster Paul Taylor.

More Delmarva All-Stars: The South Atlantic League has announced several additions to the All-Star rosters and they include honoring two more Delmarva Shorebirds. First baseman Trey Mancini and pitcher Dylan Rheault now give the Shorebirds seven All-Stars. That is the most for Delmarva since 2005.

Mancini and Rheault will join their five teammates already selected to the game set for Hickory, North Carolina tomorrow night. They are Mike Yastrzemski, Drew Dosch, Hunter Harvey, Sebastian Vader and Jimmy Yacabonis.

Mancini finished the first half with the Shorebirds’ best batting average at .317, which ranks seventh in the league. He is second in the league with 85 hits and second on the Shorebirds with 42 RBIs.

Rheault has been a crucial part of the Shorebirds’ stellar bullpen unit. In 16 relief appearances, the right-hander is 6-1 with a 3.41 ERA and two saves. Over 40 1/3 Rheault has walked 16 and fanned 26.

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