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Orioles Off to Slow Start

Cameron McHugh, Staff

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At the beginning of this season, there was a lot of optimism around the Baltimore Orioles. They had just signed starting pitcher Alex Cobb and added some more weapons to help with the team. A common trend for the Orioles is if they have a very bad Spring Training, they can easily turn it around once the season begins. 

That is not what has happened this season at all. 

The season started with a thrilling Opening Day in which Adam Jones was able to hit a walk-off homerun in the bottom of the 11th inning to give the Orioles a 3-2 victory over the Twins. In the two games following, the Orioles were almost kept to no hits in both games. The Orioles ended up losing the series, two games to one. 

Some controversy was also started during the final game of the series between Twins pitcher Jose Berrios and O’s catcher Chance Sisco. As Berrios was attempting to complete his first career shutout, Sisco laid down a bunt for a hit, even though the game was well out of reach.  

The game was 7-0 in the bottom of the ninth when Sisco bunted. Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said in an interview with MLB.com after the game that, “We’re not a fan of it… they have tremendous leadership over there … I’m sure they’ll address it moving forward.” 

The Orioles then had to travel down to Houston to face the reigning champion Astros. The O’s had to send out the back-end of their rotation to face one of the best hitting teams ever. Chris Tillman and Mike Wright Jr. were unable to get the job done on the mound in games one and two whereas the bullpen lost the game in the final game. 

The Orioles were swept in 3 consecutive games with the scores being 6-1, 10-6, and 3-2. Through two series, Baltimore had an awful 1-5 record while averaging one of the highest strikeout averages in the modern era. As a team, the O’s are striking out 11 times per game and are on pace to break the MLB Single Season Strikeout Record by over 100. 

Jakob Wilkens has been an Orioles fan for almost all his life. 

“We just can’t do anything right now,” said Wilkens. “Our starting pitching is bad, we can’t hit, and we can’t even field!” 

It also has not just been the pitchers struggling as stars like Chris Davis, Johnathon Schoop, and Tim Beckham have had a hard time getting into a groove. All three are currently hitting below .200 for the season while combining for over 30 strikeouts combined. 

Baltimore was able to gain some momentum after extra inning heroics against the Yankees where the O’s took 3 out of 4 games from the Bronx Bombers. The offense was able to pick up the slack for some underwhelming pitching, with our replacement closer Brad Brach almost losing the game after walking the bases loaded. 

The Orioles have had some very surprising performances from some very underrated players stepping up in clutch moments. 

“We have had some success this season, but it hasn’t been enough,” said freshman Jack Roseboom. “We just can’t seem to put it all together at the same time. One day we can hit, but we can’t do anything else. The next day, it’s a different story.” 

Pedro Alvarez hit a go-ahead Grand Slam in the 14th inning to lift the Orioles over the Yankees in a 7-3. Craig Gentry has also stepped up at multiple times throughout the year, including a homerun-robbing catch on Opening Day. Gentry has also done well at the plate in his opportunities as a pinch hitter. 

Prospect Chance Sisco has also been a very bright spot so far this season. Sisco helped tie the game against the Blue Jays and break up Aaron Sanchez’s complete game shutout bid. Sisco has also been able to showcase his stellar defense as he has been able to get in front of pitches and stop runners from stealing. 

In the past few games, Manny Machado has been red-hot. Machado was named co-player of the week for the third week of April. Manny hit .500 during the week with five home runs, eight RBIs, and scored seven runs in six games. He has also been stellar on defense, including a great diving play against the Cleveland Indians. While rolling on the ground, Machado was able to flip the ball to second baseman Luis Sardiñas to get the out. 

The Orioles currently have a record of 8-21 heading in to a series against the Oakland Athletics. Hopefully the Orioles can turn this slump around and become the playoff team that they are projected to be, but their time is running out.  

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Orioles Off to Slow Start