The Orioles lost 6-1 at Houston on Monday night and that one was a pretty comfortable win for the defending World Series champs. The Orioles put up big challenges against Houston the last two games, but they failed to win.
On Tuesday night, the score was tied 5-5 in the last of the seventh before Houston scored five that inning and won 10-6. Yesterday's game was tied 2-2 in the seventh before the Astros got the go-ahead run in the seventh to win 3-2.
The Orioles offense may be finally coming around. In the season's first four games, it produced a total of 17 hits. The Orioles have 20 hits the past two games.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop had a big series at Minute Maid Park. After he put together a strong spring and looked poised for a big year, Schoop began the season and went 1-for-13 versus Minnesota. But he had three hits in each of the past two games at Houston and he went 7-for-13 in the series with three doubles, a homer and three runs scored.
He got locked in with his bat deep in the heart of Texas.
"Just believe in myself and go in the cage and work," Schoop said. "It's early and you try to get a good pitch and try to put a good swing on it. Our offense, we're getting there. It's taken a little bit (of time) and there's still a lot more to do, but like I said, we just have to worry about the next series that comes up and forget about the day and think about the good things we did in this series and try to go to New York with it."
On the mound Wednesday, right-hander Dylan Bundy threw another strong game. He's got an ERA of 0.69, but no wins to show for his two starts. Over 13 innings, Bundy has allowed 10 hits and two runs (one earned) with three walks and 15 strikeouts. The other starters for the Orioles have pitched to an 8.50 ERA in the four games Bundy did not start.
"I feel good about where I'm at right now, and my body and the way I'm recovering, so you just want to take the ball when you're told to and go out there and try to give your team a chance to win," Bundy said.
He got 16 swings and misses among his 98 pitches and got 10 of them on his 48 four-seam fastballs, which had plenty of life against the Astros.
Manager Buck Showalter sees in Bundy a pitcher who is starting to put it all together. One who has talent, smarts and a great work ethic. So far this year, he has looked every bit like the first-round draft pick that he was.
"The baseball maturity comes from more is not always better," Showalter said. "Dylan can still go get it when he needs it and you see it come out when he needs it. But he's got multiple ways to get you out and that is why ... Starting pitchers have to defend themselves against left-handed hitters. (Josh) Reddick was swinging the bat well this whole series. But Dylan, he's got three or four pitches and at some time today, they were all available to him. He really pitches to weaknesses well. You go through a scouting report and you know he's going to retain it and attack it as such."
So Schoop and Bundy look pretty good so far. Now the Orioles just need to get a few more players contributing in a similar manner. They'll need all they can get when they play four games at Yankee Stadium, starting tonight.
The Orioles went 2-8 at Yankee Stadium last year. They allowed a staggering 102 runs in those games with a team ERA of 9.91. New York's team batting line at home versus Baltimore pitching was .337/.425/.671 with an OPS of 1.096. And they hit 32 homers in those games.
It was bad, real bad. Just like the Orioles' 1-5 start to this season. They've look bad through six games. They could use a few wins in the Big Apple, no matter how they come.