To say the O’s have been struggling at the plate over the past couple weeks would be an understatement. They have scored 14 runs in their last nine games, seven of which have been losses. Their pitching held up against the Nationals, but fell apart quickly when the Angels came into town. The O’s pitching staff combined to give up 20 runs and 33 hits to the Angels in what was thankfully just a two-game series. It may sound strange considering how lopsided the two games were, but the O’s had their chances to take the lead in both games. They weren’t able to capitalize on those chances and the Angels made them pay. The first game of the four-game set with the Indians began the same way, as the O’s lost 7-2 behind three home runs by the Indians. Hopefully the O’s bats will wake up soon and they will be able to finish out the first half of the season on a winning streak.
Adam Jones – Jones isn’t necessarily “hot” right now, but considering how much the O’s have been struggling, he’s one of the few players that are even close to this category. He has hit safely in nine of his last 13 games and leads the team in every major hitting category including batting average (.299), home runs (19) and RBI (41). Now, he just needs his teammates to start hitting around him so they can start scoring some runs.
Brian Matusz – Matusz was charged with his ninth loss of the season after allowing five runs on 13 hits to the Angels this past Tuesday. He was extremely overmatched by a very good Angels lineup and didn’t look comfortable on the mound at all. This is Matusz’s fourth consecutive loss after pitching very well against the Rays back on June 2. He is now 5-9 on the season.
Jason Hammel - Hammel’s last outing was one that may have watching the All-Star game as opposed to playing in it. Hammel’s ERA jumped from 2.61 to 3.29 after allowing a season-high eight runs on eight hits in just 3.1 innings. This is uncharacteristic of Hammel, who has been the best starter for the O’s all season. The good news for Hammel is that he will have a couple more starts before the All-Star break to get back into a groove. His next scheduled start is against the soft-hitting Mariners in Seattle, which is a very good place for him to gain some confidence.
Mark Reynolds – It seems like Reynolds can’t do anything right this season. He is a complete hack in the field and he can’t hit the broad side of a barn right now. He only has six home runs on the season after hitting over 30 for most of his career and is batting just .213. When he gets up to bat with runners in scoring position, he either pops it up to shallow outfield or strikes out. He went on a nice little four-game streak in mid-June, but other than that he has been irrelevant.
Submitted by Steve Giles