If they are going to continue to be successful, if they are going to hang around toward the top of the American League East standings all year, the Orioles have to buck this recent trend of short, uneven starts from their rotation.
Before Tuesday's 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards, Orioles manager Buck Showalter talked about the night¿s starter, Jake Arrieta, and how all he wants is for the enigmatic right-hander to keep his team in games.
But when Matt Joyce¿s solo homer off reliever Tommy Hunter sailed into the right field seats ¿ giving the Rays an 8-7 walk-off win over the Orioles ¿ it ended a bullpen outing very uncharacteristic of the 2012 Orioles.
The Orioles chased David Price from the game in the seventh inning, then orchestrated a two-out, five-run rally against reliever Jake McGee for a 7-4 Opening Day win against the Rays, a team they outlasted to earn an American League wild-card berth last season.
The Orioles¿ hopes of winning a division title took a hit Monday night with a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in front of an announced 13,666 at Tropicana Field, snapping the Orioles¿ four-game winning streak.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi had to be talking to himself on Friday night after an apparent double down the left field line by Eduardo Nunez in the fifth inning caromed off the knee of third base umpire Jerry Meals and bounded right to shortstop Ben Zobrist, limiting Nunez to one base.
Brian Matusz provided his finest performance of the season, giving the Orioles his fourth consecutive quality start and more importantly, creating a two-way tie between the teams atop the American League East standings heading into Sunday¿s afternoon series finale.
Despite having not won a game in nearly a week, the Orioles woke up Friday morning somehow still in first place in the American League East. By the end of the night, their struggles would finally catch up with them.