Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tyler Wilson, left, talks with pitching coach Dave Wallace, center, and catcher Matt Wieters, right, during the second inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Saturday, July 2, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Another bad week for the starting pitcher rotation led to a halt in the red-hot winning streak for the Baltimore Orioles. After winning seven straight games from June 22 through June 29, the O’s have managed to lose three consecutive games, all played in a road series against the Seattle Mariners June 30-July 2.
In what remains a consistent theme this season, poor performances from Baltimore’s starting pitchers dropped the team into the losing column. Starter Tyler Wilson was god-awful in a 12-6 loss to Seattle on July 2, giving up nine hits and eight runs through just three innings pitched. Starter Kevin Gausman wasn’t as bad on July 1; he surrendered just one run through his first five innings but then gave up an untimely two-run homer in the sixth inning that sparked the 5-2 victory for the Mariners. And just to top things off, Baltimore’s best starting pitcher, Chris Tillman, also had a rough week, picking up only his second loss of the season (10-2) in a 5-3 loss on June 3. Tillman allowed six hits and four runs in less than five innings pitched.
Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado follows through on a swing during a baseball game, Saturday, July 2, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
When Baltimore doesn’t pitch well early in games and gives up huge leads like it did on July 2, it takes away the team’s best weapons. Suddenly, clutch batters like Mark Trumbo or Manny Machado aren’t in position to hit that key home run to lift their team to a tight victory. Falling behind by a ton of runs early on also takes away another strength of the Orioles: the bullpen. There’s no need for Brad Brach or Zach Britton (perhaps the best setup man and closer in the game, respectively) to take the mound if the score is out of reach.
It’s starting to sound extremely redundant, but Baltimore absolutely has to find a way to add a quality pitcher to the starting rotation. Three straight losses are enough proof that a trade for one needs to be done. The Orioles are still in the lead of the American League East division with a 47-33 record, but they need to nip this weed in the bud before it grows into a problem big enough to plague their whole season.