(June 4-6) Orioles take a 2-1 Series Against Astros
(June 9, 2013) The Orioles showed their usual winning form in Game 1 against the Astros; the bats were alive for Baltimore and closing pitcher Jim Johnson earned his 19th save of the season. However, unlike what the Orioles have seen much of this season, starting right-hand pitcher Chris Tillman dominated with a seven-inning, 113-pitch performance. Baltimore hasn’t gotten many pitching performances that have lasted longer than six innings this year. But Tillman, who is 5-0 in road performances this season, was the exception against the Astros, allowing just one run in a 4-1 victory.

Unfortunately for the O’s, journeyman starter Freddy Garcia wasn’t nearly as successful as Tillman in Game 2 as he was rocked for four home runs and five runs in only three innings pitched before he was pulled from the mound. The Astros poured on six more runs against the O’s bullpen to win, 11-7.

O’s Miguel Gonzalez turned out a makeup performance for Garica, however, leading Baltimore to a 3-1 victory in Game 3 against the Astros. Gonzalez pitched six strong innings, giving up just five scattered hits while striking out seven batters and allowing just one intentional run. Star power bat Chris Davis continued his success with his 22nd multi-hit game of the year. Jim Johnson also earned his 20th save of the season.

(June 7-8) Orioles Go 0-2 Against Rays
The Orioles would fall on the wrong end of a pitching duel in the first two games of the series against the Tampa Rays on June 7 and June 8. Rays’ starter Chris Archer shutdown the Orioles’ bats in a 2-1 win in Game 1 and Rays’ starter Jeremy Hellickson was even more impressive in Game 2, allowing zero runs in a 8-0 win.

Analysis:
The Orioles (34-28) still appear as one of the most talented teams in Major League Baseball, and should continue to be a contender to win the American League East division; however, their two-game losing streak knocked them out of third place into fourth place behind the Tampa Bay Rays. This team won’t lose many series like they did against the Rays so look for them to bounce back into the top three soon.

Orioles Player of the Week: Chris Tillman
Tillman’s performance against the Astros was brilliant as he picked up his fifth straight win on the road, giving him a perfect 5-0 record away from Camden Yards. Tillman has probably been the Orioles’ most consistent starter this season; that says a lot, considering how the starting pitchers seems to be the weakest area for Baltimore.

Next-Up:
The Orioles will host the Los Angeles Angels on June 10-12, followed by a four-game series against the Boston Red Sox on June 13-16.

Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor