Last week, the Orioles seemed buoyant—after suffering a four-game losing skid, they bounced back with a five-game winning streak reclaimed the top spot in the American League East.
Toronto Blue Jays’ Russell Martin drops the ball, missing the tag on Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado at third during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 29, 2016, in Toronto. (Jon Blacker/The Canadian Press via AP)
Well, that buoyancy was short-lived, as the Orioles (58-45) lost five straight games as of July 31, falling behind the Toronto Blue Jays (59-45) in the division.
The worst of the losses came on July 30, a 9-1 rout to the Blue Jays. The reason behind the losing slump? The same thing that’s haunted Baltimore all season: poor pitching from the starting rotation.
Yovani Gallardo got the start against the Blue Jays and stunk it up, giving up five runs in less than five innings pitched. Fellow starter Kevin Gausman was even worse in a 6-5 loss to Toronto on July 29; he allowed six runs in just three innings pitched.
Surprisingly, Ubaldo Jimenez was decent against the Minnesota Twins on July 28. He surrendered just five hits and one earned run through five innings, but his reliever, Odrisamer Despagne, gave up four runs in the sixth inning en route to a 6-2 Orioles loss.
It hasn’t helped that Baltimore’s usually explosive offense has been nonexistent through the five-game slump. Two-time home run champ Chris Davis has been experiencing perhaps his worst slump ever; he simply hasn’t been able to hit much of anything. His average has fallen to .222, and he is 0-for-8 through the last two games and just 3-for-18 through the last five games.
These woes may just be temporary and Baltimore could bounce back with another winning streak to return to first place in the division, as they did before. That’s what O’s fans will be hoping for. If not, Orioles Nation could be in for a rough time if the team continues to lose and fall out of playoff contention.