The Baltimore Orioles square off tonight against against their third straight AL East foe, the Tampa Bay Rays. At this point Orioles’ players, management and fans have to be disappointed by the 1-5 start, and are looking for answers. The Rays and Matt Garza are not the team and pitcher for the Orioles to get healthy against, but at this point, who is? The Orioles have got to find a win to win some games. To their credit, the club has made every game this year a close one. To their discredit, the O’s have found increasingly agonizing ways to lose most every game. The bullpen, defense and lack of clutch offense have all been culprits in the 1-5 start. The only phase that has been steady has been the starting pitching.
What can we look for this series.? The Rays again will throw 3 tough starters at the O’s. Garza was nasty in beating the Orioles in game 2 of the season, the Orioles will have to figure out a way to get to him early. THe Orioles should get a longer look at Rays righty Jeff Niemann, who was knocked from his start by a Miguel Tejada liner. Inteh series finale the Rays will throw lefty David Price, who look strong in his season debut against the Yankees last Friday.
For the O’s to have a shot to win this series, Jeremy Guthrie will need to build on his strong start in Tampa and perhaps be even better. Guthrie pitched well last week and got a tough loss when Evan Longoria’s 2-run double, which should have been caught, gave the Rays a lead they would not relinquish. Hopefully Brian Matusz can locate better in his 2nd start. Matusz struggled, but at times dazzled and showed why there are such high hopes. I am not sure what to expect out of Brad Bergesen his 2nd time out. Clearly his command was not there and the Blue Jays made him pay for his mistakes. He will have to be much sharper against Tampa and will need more support from his defense than he received in the home opener.
When your only offensive bright spots after 6 games are Matt Wieters and the number of walks Nick Markakis has drawn, then you know you are in trouble. Great to Wieters off to a strong start, Dave Trembley may want to consider moving the big fella up in the line-up to give him more chances with runners on base. The Orioles desperately need somebody to start producing in the clutch. They have been awful hitting with runners in scoring position so far and figure to have less of those opportunities with Brian Roberts on the DL.
There was some buzz, albeit tempered, to start the season. It seems that after one week the buzz is gone. Can the O’s get some excitement at the Yard before they head on the road? Here are your pitching probables:
Matt Garza, RHP (1-0, 1.13) vs Jeremy Guthrie, RHP (0-1, 4.26), 7:05
Jeff Niemann, RHP (0-0, 0.00) vs Brian Matusz, LHP (1-0, 3.60), 7:05
David Price, LHP (1-0, 3.52) vs Brad Bergesen, RHP (0-0, 9.64), 1:35