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.
Oddly enough, in an article named “5 Takeaways”, the recurring theme that went through my mind this week was how important numbers were this week. So let’s go with the numbers theme…
Let’s start off with a positive. On Sunday, Major League Baseball once again paid tribute to baseball’s civil rights pioneer, Jackie Robinson with all teams players wearing Jackie’s number 42. This year MLB also marked the occasion with special socks bearing the number 42, as well as patches on their game caps and jerseys. Sunday marked the 71st anniversary of Jackie breaking the color barrier and it’s a nice commemoration of the history of Mr. Jackie Robinson.
So much for positives. The Birds seemed to find ways to lose this week, dropping two of three against Toronto at home, before dropping three straight games in Boston. It seems when the starting pitching was good (See: Bundy, and Cashner), the bats couldn’t get going. Gausman did pitch a solid game on Wednesday going 6 innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits, striking out seven for the week’s only victory. The team has a tough decision to make with Tillman, who went two innings, giving up six runs on seven hits against the Red Sox in the series opener in Boston. For the year, Tillman has yielded 22 hits and 15 earned runs in 11.1 innings with a WHIP of 2.84. More importantly, his velocity is way down and he looks to be a shell of his old self. Alex Cobb was just plain rusty in his season debut, going just 3.2 innings giving up 10 hits and seven earned runs. I’m much less concerned about Cobb than I am Tillman. To use a quote from Buck, I believe Alex Cobb will “play to the numbers on the back of his baseball card”. Tillman’s days in the starting rotation may be numbered.
With the first pitch temperature registering just 44 degrees this past Monday night, just 7,915 fans witnessed a 7-1 loss to the Blue Jays. The crowd was the smallest crowd to ever witness a game at Camden Yards, unless you count the “fanless game” that took place on April 29, 2015 after the civil unrest in Baltimore. With temperatures remaining in the 40’s during the past week’s homestand, the 3 games drew just 26,954 fans in total.
Those two numbers represented the first pitch temperature and wind speed at Fenway Park this past Sunday for the Orioles-Red Sox match up. It was a game that featured quite a few oddities including players donning ski masks through most of the game and snow flurries. It was also confusing for fans and the announcers with all players donning Jackie Robinson’s number 42 and ski masks making it difficult to distinguish players on the field, particularly when the two teams went into a defensive shift. It was a really a strange game, particularly for one played on April 15th when one would think the weather should be turning.
5. The Big 3
While the team dropped five of six this week, there were some positive signs. Three of the Birds top four starters — Bundy, Gausman, and Cashner — actually pitched pretty well. They combined to pitch four of the six starts logging 25.2 innings, yielding 21 hits, and just six earned runs over those starts. The teams record over those four games was just 1-3, but Bundy, Gausman, and Cashner kept their team in the game and gave them a chance to win in each start. Again, I believe Cobb will be fine and adding another solid starter to the mix should help this team to turn things around.
This Week’s Interesting Stat: The Orioles batters broke a 12 game streak of having ten or more strikeouts to start the season striking out just 4 times last Tuesday in a 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays.
The Week Ahead: Monday’s Patriot Day game against the Red Sox has already been cancelled due to weather. Probably a good thing considering the hot start the Red Sox are off to -13-2 (.867) the best start in baseball. The Birds then travel to Detroit for a 3 game set, before returning back to Baltimore for four games against the Indians.
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).