Heading into Friday night’s game against the Minnesota Twins, the Baltimore Orioles have gone 5-2 on their current homestand. After sweeping four games from the Oakland A’s, the Birds split two with the New York Mets.
Thursday night’s series opener against Minnesota did not go well for the home team. After a two hour and 31 minute rain delay, the Twins drubbed the Orioles 15-2 at Camden Yards.
Orioles’ right-hander Miguel Gonzalez was hammered by Minnesota for eight hits and seven earned runs in five innings of work. Gonzalez has really been struggling as he has posted a hefty 7.82 ERA over his last five starts.
The Birds have three games remaining against the Twins and it would behoove them to win at least two out of the three. After the Minnesota series, the Orioles will hit the road to face the Kansas City Royals for four games and then go to Texas to play three against the Rangers.
I know the Twins are now 4-0 against the Orioles in 2015. But they have a poor road record (22-37) and the Birds are one of the best home teams (37-22) in Major League Baseball. The Orioles need to take capitalize on this advantage.
The series against Kansas City is not only a rematch of the 2014 American League Championship Series, it also pits the Orioles against a Royals club with the best record in the AL (73-47). Against Texas, the Birds will be facing a Rangers team that only trials them by one game in the AL Wild Card standings.
If the Orioles are going to have success and make a run at the postseason over their final 42 games, they are going need Gonzalez and fellow right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez to pitch better.
As Gonzalez has been having a rough time, Jimenez hasn’t been much better. In seven starts since the All-Star break, Jimenez is 2-3 with an ERA of 7.12. Obviously, those numbers are not good enough.
The Orioles are still within striking distance in the AL East (-5) and are even closer in the chase for the AL Wild Card (-0.5). To make it to the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, the starting pitching is going to have to take it to another level.
The Orioles are also going to have to defend their home turf. They need to do that against the Twins this weekend.