The Baltimore Orioles were in desperate need of a win after entering this week 1.5 games behind in the race for a wild card seed. Instead, they went on to lose four of five games and ultimately fell behind three games in the wild card hunt.

(Aug. 12-14) Arizona Diamondbacks Sweep Three-Game Series .The first of their untimely losses came in a three-loss sweep by the Arizona Diamondbacks from Aug. 12-14. Home run leader Chris Davis nailed his 43rd homer of the season in Game One of the series, and then hit his 44th home run in Game Two. But the pitching down the stretch was atrocious for the O’s as Tommy Hunter blew a chance for a save in the first game, leading to a 7-6 loss, and Jim Johnson blew his eighth save opportunity of the year in a 4-3 loss in the second game.

Not even Chris Tillman, the O’s best pitcher this season, could get a win as he gave up two earned runs before Johnson blew his ninth save opportunity of the season in a 5-4 loss in Game Three.

(Aug. 16-17) Victory over Rockies Ends Losing FunkThe poor pitching continued into Baltimore’s next series against the Colorado Rockies as Wei-Yin Chen gave up four earned runs in a 6-3 loss in Game One of the series. The O’s also struggled on offense as they recorded just five hits in the game.
Fortunately for Baltimore they were able to end their four-game losing skid in Game Two against the Rockies, thanks to a huge third inning. The O’s scored a season-high seven runs in that inning, which helped them secure the 8-4 victory.

The Orioles had a minor issue with their offense during their ill-timed losing slump this week. But the main problem is the same one they suffered for most this season – inconsistency from their pitchers. Baltimore simply hasn’t been able to start games with strong pitching, putting too much pressure on their bullpen. They tried to address the issue by adding Bud Norris and Scott Feldman to the rotation. But both pitchers have been no more than average at best. And now their best pitcher in the bullpen and designated closer, Jim Johnson, has been struggling. He still has a league leading 39 saves this season, but he also blew 9 save chances, including two this past week. If Baltimore doesn’t get it together soon, they risk the chance of falling even further behind in the wild card race, which will mean no playoff baseball for Charm City.

O’s Player of the Week: Manny Machado
During a week when offense was hard to come by for the Orioles, Machado was the most consistent batter on the team. He recorded eight hits, along with four RBI and a homerun this week.

After concluding their series with the Rockies on Aug. 18, Baltimore will continue their home stand with the Tampa Rays on Aug. 19-21, and the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 23-25.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor