Orioles must play better against AL East

Orioles must play better against AL East
May 26, 2013, 8:00 pm
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The Orioles just completed 10 consecutive games with the American League East, their longest sustained stretch within the division until September. They went 4-6.

That’s not going to be good enough for the Orioles who are now 13-12 against the East.

Now come four games against the Nationals, two in Washington and two in Baltimore. At the end of those four games, the Orioles will be at the one-third point of the schedule. With a 27-23 record, they’re guaranteed to be at least .500, but they’re hoping for much better than that.

For the fourth consecutive game, a starter didn’t make it through six innings. That follows four where the starter did, the only time that’s happened this season.

Sunday’s defeat may have been the most deflating of the season. Jim Johnson, who seemed to be over his funk, allowed four runs in the ninth, and blew a three-run lead.

The Orioles’ bats continue to be strong, though they’re leaving too many runners on base. Their bullpen, last year’s strength, seems to be fraying with Johnson’s sudden inconsistencies and Pedro Strop’s ineffectiveness.

Last year, the Orioles took four of six from the Nationals. Since their arrival in Washington, the Orioles are 23-19. With the new schedule, the teams play two games in Washington and two in Baltimore this week. That will be the case next year, too. In 2015, when the AL East is scheduled to play the NL East, they’ll once again play two three-game series.

The Orioles won’t have to face Stephen Strasburg, who has pitched against them just once. Last May, Strasburg hit his first major league home run against Wei-Yin Chen. Strasburg has never pitched at Oriole Park.
NOTES: Tommy Hunter, who made a barehanded grab of Jose Bautista’s ball to end the eighth, had X-Rays on his right hand. They were negative, but he’ll be reevaluated on Monday.

-In his third rehab start, Tsuyoshi Wada allowed three runs and four hits in five innings for Norfolk at Lehigh Valley. He walked four and struck out six.