Let's get the most painful part out of the way first. This offense is dreadful right now. The Orioles went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position Thursday and are now 3-for-52 in their last 10 games, a .058 average.
Want more? In their three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Orioles scored 27 runs. Since then, they have scored a total of 23 – in 12 games. They have scored three or fewer in 11 of those games; two runs or fewer in nine.
So what can they do? Not much. This offense is what is. They have six guys with 50 or more strikeouts (and we aren't halfway through the season yet) and five hitters with 10 or more homers. There's a whole lot of all-or-nothing. And a whole lot of streaking. Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis, Wilson Betemit – all have been pretty streaky in their careers. And, right now, only Betemit is streaking the right away (though it looks like Hardy is following him).
One guy we haven't really talked much about recently is Brian Roberts. He went 3-for-4 in his triumphant return from a year-plus layoff on June 12. He had seven hits in his first 22 at-bats (.318) average and just four hits in his last 34 (.118 average) – for a combined mark of .196. But what is most disturbing is the Orioles' leadoff hitter has scored just one run in his first 14 games back – that one coming on June 14, his third game of the season.
No matter whose fault that is – Roberts for having a .250 on-base percentage or his teammates for never driving him in – that's unacceptable.
We joke in the press box about how we have wasted so much ink – or cyberspace words – on certain players over the last few years. Guys who we write a lot about and then never materialize or make a difference for the Orioles. Call it the Justin Duchscherer Award.
Well, Dontrelle Willis has a chance to push for a re-name of that prestigious fictional trophy. Willis was signed by the Orioles in March as a reliever, hurt his arm in April at Triple-A and wanted to become a starter again against the Orioles' desires – setting off a controversy as to whether he was granted his release when he left the team.
Ultimately, he ended up in Sarasota, where he worked to build his arm strength to start at Triple A. And, alas, on Thursday he made his first start for the Tides, giving up four earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four batters against Columbus, the Cleveland Indians' top affiliate. He threw 70 pitches, only 43 for strikes, in 2 2/3 innings.
Yeah, that's not going to get the D-Train rolling up to Baltimore.
By the way, can anyone play third base in Baltimore? Someone used to be able to around here, right?
OK, here's one positive note: Dylan Bundy continues to get comfortable in High-A Frederick. He allowed one run in five innings for the Keys, allowing four hits and striking out five. Most important, he did it against the best team in the Carolina League. And, no, he doesn't play third base.