Orioles must bring bats to D.C. or risk another bad outcome

The Orioles are coming out of yesterday’s break in the schedule and hoping that their offense, which got a head start on it, shows up tonight in D.C.

They were shut out Sunday on three hits, the only slice of good news being how Austin Hays accounted for two of them.

Six of the last eight games ended in defeat, and the last two series have been lost. The Orioles started out 2-0 on the homestand and finished 4-6. They're going in the wrong direction - much like myself later today trying to find the parking garage.

Much of the blame lies with the bats. The Orioles struck out 14 times Sunday and suffered their ninth shutout. They’ve been held to three hits in two of their last four games. They're putting way too much pressure on the pitching staff to be perfect or darn close.

“We have really big swings and we need to get back to staying in the middle of the field,” manager Brandon Hyde said after the game, adding that his club is prone to getting into bad counts.

“You can’t get three hits and expect to win.”

I never bought the theory that the Orioles caught a break with the Red Sox visiting Camden Yards. They reside at the bottom of the division standings, but as Hyde said before the opening game, “They aren’t a last place team.”

The rebuilding Nationals are a legit last place team. The worst record in baseball at 49-92, a run differential of minus-206, a 5.06 ERA that ranked 29th in the majors, a 5.81 rotation ERA that was last.

They are, however, batting .309 this month to lead the majors. The Orioles are 27th with a .221 average and .289 on-base percentage.

(Since Aug. 15, opponents have posted a .208 average against the Nationals on ground balls. My take: Hit the ball in the air.)

The teams split a two-game series in June with back-to-back shutouts. The Orioles lost 3-0 and won 7-0.

There’s no other way to approach these games in D.C. except to say that the Orioles must win both. Got to sweep. Anything less is really bad for a team trying to hang in the wild card race and spending the weekend in Toronto.

So, what can Hyde do to shake up the lineup?

He hasn’t gone with a set nine. He’s lowered guys who are struggling. He’s tried rest. He’s concentrated on matchups and splits and reverse splits. What's left?

The Orioles selected Gunnar Henderson’s contract, and he’s hitting .293/.356/.439 with three doubles and a home run in 12 games. They brought back Kyle Stowers, but he’s hitting .227/.292/.318 with one double, one huge home run, and 15 strikeouts in 16 games.

They signed Jesús Aguilar to a minor league contract on Aug. 31, hoping that he could provide some thump, but he’s 1-for-18 with six strikeouts.

Jorge Mateo is 4-for-26 in eight games this month and hasn’t homered since Aug. 19. He has one home run since Aug. 7.

There isn’t much help down below. I don’t know that the Orioles would make another bold promotion and bring up infielder Jordan Westburg, who’s batting .263/.351/.493 with 21 doubles, three triples, 14 home runs and 61 RBIs in 76 games since joining Triple-A Norfolk.

The claiming of catcher Cam Gallagher off waivers from the Padres on Sunday wasn’t designed to jump-start the offense. He was optioned to Norfolk, which currently has Jacob Nottingham, Anthony Bemboom and Brett Cumberland on the injured list.

Entirely different topic.

As for the pitching staff, Grayson Rodriguez’s injury rehab assignment is over and he’s rejoining the Tides. He’s going to start later this week, most likely on Friday to keep him on normal rest. He needs to be stretched out and remains a possibility to pitch for the Orioles, even if it’s in October.

Won’t do a thing for the offense, but wouldn’t it be nice to see Rodriguez make his major league debut in 2022?  

Dean Kremer starts tonight for the Orioles. He’s allowed eight earned runs in his last five games over 31 1/3 innings.

Kremer has never faced the Nationals.


On O's farm, Aberdeen in playoffs tonight & Bowie ...
The search for runs and wins is on as the wild car...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/