Each Monday, in this spot, I’ll try to give you fan’s look at what transpired with our Birds the past week and what lies ahead for the club. My only promise is that the piece will be totally biased and from a real fan, so here it goes.
1. As Yogi Berra Once Said, “It’s Getting Late, Early”
After another horrible week at 1-5 the Baltimore Orioles seem to be on their way to being the 2017 Toronto Blue Jays who started the season last year at 8-17 and basically dug a hole for themselves that they were never able to climb out from. The Birds currently sit at 6-16 firmly entrenched in last place. Honestly, the week could have been even worse but the Birds were fortunate to have the Red Sox (17-3) Patriots Day game cancelled due to inclement weather. The Birds dropped three straight in Detroit to a sub .500 Tigers team before rebounding with a nice and neat 3-1 victory at home onFriday night, which gave hopes that they might turn things around at home.
The weather was better this weekend with game temps near or above 60 degrees, but it didn’t matter. The Birds proceeded to drop the next two games to Cleveland this weekend, with yet another to play on Monday. As you may recall, the 2017 Blue Jays went on to have an 18-10 May last season, but the April start basically ruined any hopes of the team making the playoffs. Here’s hoping the Birds get well this week with one more with Cleveland and then a pair of three-game sets versus to sub .500 teams at home with Tampa Bay (8-13) in next, followed by the Tigers (9-11). If they don’t make a move this next seven games at home, it could be too late, already.
2. Are The Orioles Who We Thought They Were?
Since the Orioles started the 2017 season at a torrid pace of 22-10, they are since 59-93. Maybe the experts were right and this club isn’t as good as they’ve seemed over the last five or six years. It is certainly a team that is streaky, relies too much on the home run and has had suspect pitching. Although interestingly, the club has had nine quality starts this season from their starters and is 4-5 in those starts. Maybe Buck’s magic has worn off or maybe this team needs everything to work in order to win ball games.
3. Red Hot Manny
Despite the “ice cold” start of his ball club, Manny Machado continues on an MVP-like pace. Manny is slashing .360/.439/.721 and did his best to will the team to victory this week smashing five home runs in his past 4 games. Manny took 2-time Cy Young Award Winner Corey Kluber deep twice on Sunday, but it was not enough. As a team, the club is batting a combined .216. I’m not a statistician but if you subtract Manny’s .360, that’s not good! Latest example — the Orioles managed just six hits yesterday versus Kluber, Miller, and Allen, and Manny had half of those hits, going 3 for 4.
Despite the good vibes from the nice win on Friday night, the downer of the night was seeing Trey Mancini slide into the left field wall doing damage to his knee. Not as bad as it could have been, Trey did get stitched up and was not in the lineup either Saturday or Sunday afternoon. To this point Trey has not landed on the disabled list and perhaps the club was just exercising extreme caution with one of the few guys on the team who is off to a good start. Mark Trumbo is supposed to start in Bowie on Monday and the club has said that Jonathon Schoop is now “pain free”, so maybe help is coming. The team sure could use it having scored 3 runs or less 15 times this season.
5. “Rocky” Bleier
You know it’s bad when one of your clubs bright spots for the week is the pitching of one of the bullpen arms, but give “Rocky” Bleier his due, he’s been real good. Bleier is 2-0 pitching to an 0.61 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, averages 12.7 pitches per inning, .239 BABIP, and has stranded all eight of his inherited runners. Bleier made two appearances this week going 2.2 combined innings allowing just two baserunners. In a week (and season) in which we are looking for the bright spot, count this guy among them. BTW, Richard Bleier has been tagged with the nickname “Rocky” by MASN’s Tom Davis after 1970’s Steelers running back Robert “Rocky” Bleier…sorry Ravens fans!
The Week Ahead: Following the final of a four game set on Monday versus the Indians, the Birds take on Tampa Bay for 3 games, followed by the Detroit Tigers.
Every weekday morning at 8 AM, we publish our “Daily Feature” — it’s our favorite piece of the day, the one we don’t want you to miss. You can read our “Daily Feature” here on BSR or have it emailed to you by adding your address to the sign up box in the sidebar (or below if you’re browsing BSR on a mobile device).