Another tough night for O's pitching, more adversity to overcome as Cubs take series opener

Take it one day at a time. Worry about today’s game. Don’t look too far ahead or much ahead at all.

It can be a bit boring creed, but for the Orioles it is working.

Their latest example of how they quickly deal with adversity and then move past it just happened Sunday at Oakland. After giving up 19 runs the day before, they scored four in the first the next day and won. They got swept by at St. Louis in May, ending the sweepless streak and then went on a 16-4 run the next 20 games.

Guess what, more adversity last night as they allowed 14 hits in a 9-2 loss to the Cubs and Dean Kremer gave up seven runs in four innings. In their second game after allowing 19 runs, the O's allowed nine.

Now they have to overcome another down game. They've responded well to tough times most of this year. How do they do that?

“It’s a long year and the key for this whole clubhouse is taking it one day at a time,” said Jordan Westburg, pregame yesterday, before he was named to the AL All-Star team. “I don’t think we’re looking too far ahead other than tonight’s game. We have guys in here that take their work very seriously. They come to the park every day prepared to kind of chip away at their duties and their routines and carry those into that night’s game. I think that is just repeated day in and day out and that is probably why we are where we are in the standings. I don’t think we are looking forward, just at today’s opportunities, today’s chances and trying to win a ballgame.”

Westburg was reminded that the Orioles are a in good position now past the season’s midpoint to take another AL East title.

“The year is not over. We certainly haven’t defending anything right now. We still have a second half to play. I know we are leading right now, but still a lot of baseball to play. A lot can happen.

"We certainly have put ourselves in a cool opportunity to possibly have a chance to defend the AL East. But we still have a sour taste in our mouth from last year’s disappointment in the postseason. So, I think that we’ll continue to fight all year and if we get in the postseason, there is some unfinished business that we want to take care of,” he said.

Of the four O’s All-Stars, in Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Westburg the Orioles have three homegrown players. And they traded players they drafted to get Corbin Burnes, also an All-Star.

Westburg said when he was on the farm, he could imagine winning big with the Orioles in Baltimore.

“I could imagine it yeah. My last full year in the minors, was 2022. You start to see the improvements at this level. I think this team was starting to turn the corner and shock a lot of people. And then last year we made a huge jump. I could definitely see it when I was down there and kind of looking up and just to be part of the team now is really cool,” he said.

About last night: The Orioles maintained their three-game lead atop the AL East as New York also lost last night. The Yankees are 6-17 their past 23 games and 0-6-1 their past seven series.

But the O's have some pitching issues to straighten out themselves. They've now allowed 19, three and nine runs these last three games. Last night was the ninth time this year they've allowed nine runs or more. No surprise, they are 0-9. 

And last night was the sixth time in the past 17 games since June 21 that the O's have given up eight runs or more. They did that just five times in 74 games through June 20. But the O's are 8-9 in those past 17 games with a team ERA of 5.78 in this span. They've allowed a .819 OPS and 29 homers in those 17 games.

They will look to right-hander Corbin Burnes (9-3, 2.32 ERA) to pitch them to a win tonight as he faces Japanese-born lefty Shota Imanaga (7-2, 3.16 ERA) in a marquee pitching matchup of 2024 All-Stars at Oriole Park. 

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