Since taking two of three games from the Washington Nationals two weeks ago, things have not gone well for the Baltimore Orioles.

For the first time in 2012, the Orioles have lost three series in a row. Two of those series loses (Boston and KC) came at home. Entering the recently completed Toronto series, the Birds had the best road record in baseball. That didn’t seem to matter as Baltimore was swept by the Blue Jays.

Even with their recent struggles, Orioles are still tied for first place in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays.

As luck would have it, the Birds and Rays play a three-game set this weekend in Tampa.

Starting pitching, or lack thereof, has been a problem for manager Buck Showalter’s crew, as of late.

Aside from RHP Jason Hammel and LHP Wei-Yin Chen, the starters have been inconsistent if not bad. LHP Brian Matusz has regrouped after a terrible stretch dating back to last season. But is he really back to 2010 form?

As a team, the Orioles hit a lot of home runs. Unfortunately, if they are not hitting homers, they’re not scoring runs.

On defense, let’s just say they will never remind anyone of the 1970 Orioles.

Now the team has to make due without RF Nick Markakis who will be on the shelf for a few weeks with a right wrist injury.

We’ll find out how resilient the Birds are over the next six games as they take on the Rays and then travel to Fenway to face the Red Sox.

Is it time to press the panic button? Not yet.

However, it may not be a bad time to start staring at it.


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