Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado, center, high-fives teammates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Baltimore, Thursday, June 2, 2016. Baltimore won 12-7. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The Baltimore Orioles (31-21 record) sit in second place in the American League East division as of June 5, trailing only the Boston Red Sox (33-23) thanks in large part to a surge of offense though half of their previous week of play.
Though Baltimore won only three of its last six games played, it was able to string all three of those wins consecutively through the first three days of June with the kind of strong offensive play that fans and pundits alike have come to expect from the Orioles.
The O’s slumped offensively through two straight losses against Boston May 30-31, scoring just two runs in both games. But they regained their batting rhythm in the days that followed, scoring 31 runs through three games played June 1-3, including back-to-back games of double-digit runs.
The pitching staff struggled in both of Baltimore’s 13-9 and 12-7 victories over Boston, but it didn’t matter because batters like Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters and Adam Jones were on fire. Trumbo ended up hitting three home runs over the last three games played. He currently leads all Major League Baseball with 18 homers in the season.
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Brian Duensing throws to the Boston Red Sox during a baseball game in Baltimore, Thursday, June 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The only issue with this style of play for Baltimore is eventually they’re going to run into a team that outscores them. That’s what happened to the Orioles on June 4 in an 8-6 loss to the New York Yankees. Baltimore needed more than just offense; it needed effective pitching to hold off the Yankees’ batters. But starting pitcher Tyler Wilson allowed five runs and seven hits, suffering from the same slump as his fellow starting mates. Chris Tillman gave up eight hits and five runs in five innings on June 3, Ubaldo Jimenez allowed five runs in five innings on June 2 and Mike Wright was the worst with seven hits and six runs allowed in less than three innings pitched on June 1.
Baltimore will need better efforts from its starting pitchers or risk the danger of putting too much weight on the backs of its power batters. The O’s will manage to win some games by simply outscoring opponents in shootout fashion. But they’ll lose a lot of games that way too.