After a quick start to the season, the Orioles showed why they’re in rebuilding mode during a four-game sweep by the Miami Marlins.
“It’s frustrating any time you feel like you have something good going and then show up and one day it’s there and the next day it’s not,” said Wade LeBlanc, who gave up six runs and seven hits during 3.1 innings in an 8-7 loss in the series finale Aug. 6.
The Orioles endured back-to-back shutouts in the first two games (4-0 and 1-0) and managed just three hits in the third loss (2-1). Baltimore (5-7) now heads to D.C. for a three-game weekend series against the Nationals, with lefty Tommy Milone set to take the hill Aug. 7.
The Bright Spots
Alex Cobb continued his resurgence and allowed just one run and two hits in five innings during the 1-0 loss in the first game of a doubleheader against the Marlins Aug. 5. If Cobb continues to pitch well, he could become a valuable trade chip for the Orioles because he is still under contract for next year.
“I know they’re an aggressive team, so I was going to have to throw some off-speed, a lot of off-speed, but I would have liked to have been a little more aggressive in the zone with my fastball and gotten some quicker outs,” Cobb said.
Asher Wojciechowski bounced back from his shaky outing to open the season and pitched well in the second game of the doubleheader. Wojciechowski allowed just two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks in a 2-1 loss.
“I just thought I was mixing my pitches well and locating,” he said. “They’re pretty aggressive, so just being able to mix well, throw all four pitches for strikes and get early contact.”
Newly acquired Jose Iglesias has carried the offense during the early part of the season. He had three hits in the series and is batting .379. Meanwhile, Renato Nunez and Anthony Santander are tied for the team-lead with eight RBIs apiece. Nunez also leads the club with four home runs.
Chance Sisco is off to a hot start and has played effectively behind the plate. He’s managed five hits in 11 at-bats with a home run and is batting .455.
“I feel good,” he said. “A lot of the work I put in this offseason and in quarantine time was being able to repeat some things with my swing and repeat on a nightly basis and I feel like I’m able to do that right now. And that’s obviously the goal, is to be able to continue to repeat that.”
The Low Points
Chris Davis’ struggles have carried over to this season.
After a solid spring when he batted .409 with three homers and nine RBIs in 12 games, he’s regressed. Davis is just 2-for-23 during the regular season after managing a double in the ninth inning of the series finale against the Marlins.
“We’ve had some conversations the last couple days. I thought he swung the bat very aggressive [Aug. 6],” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said of Davis. “I just wanted him to be more aggressive early in the count. I want him when he swings the bat to have some presence and swing with some intent, and he did that.”
The Orioles could consider giving Ryan Mountcastle an opportunity to finally show what he can do at the major-league level.
LeBlanc is having an uneven season, going 1-0 with a 6.91 ERA over three starts. In his last start against the Marlins, he struggled with his command and threw 36 strikes and 56 pitches.
“I just thought he wasn’t as sharp. He made some decent pitches,” Hyde said. “I just thought he was a little off tonight.”
DJ Stewart, who was selected by the Orioles in the first round (No. 25 overall) of the 2015 MLB Draft, was optioned to the team’s alternate campsite in Bowie Aug. 5.
Stewart did not manage a hit in 14 at-bats and struck out eight times with six walks this season. Hyde thought Stewart might have been putting too much pressure on himself.
“I think that he was just pressing, trying to get a bunch of hits in one at-bat, and just like to see him go down there and take a lot of non-pressure at-bats and work on some things mechanically without having to produce at the major-league level with the stats that count,” Hyde said.
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