The Baltimore Orioles are finishing May streaking again. Unfortunately, it is not the kind of streak O’s fans would like to be seeing. With the loss to the Houston Astros Friday night, the Orioles had dropped their fourth straight game, which marks the third time they have had a losing streak of at least four games this season. Still, the Orioles remain optimistic. After the loss, Chris Davis told reporters that the team will “right the ship.”
Staying at .500 is not where the Orioles intend to be and the team is planning on making some big roster moves this summer. The run support has been there for Baltimore, but it does come in spurts. The runs scored per game (4.23) ranks middle of the road in the majors (13th), but overall, the offense has performed well enough to win games. As a team, their .264 batting average is fourth in the MLB and their combined 53 homeruns ranks sixth. Nonetheless, the offense has not been the downfall of the team thus far. The pitching for Baltimore ranks among the bottoms in the league. Their leader in ERA among starting pitchers is Bud Norris, who has a 4.04 ERA. The team ERA of 4.31 is 13th in the AL and 27th overall in the majors. With the starting pitching continuing to be of concern, this could turn into quite the interesting of summers.
First on Baltimore’s list of potential moves to be made in order to sure up the rotation is with Johan Santana. Santana is more of a shot in the dark for the team, but if by some chance their plan works out and the two sides agree on terms, as Santana has an opt-out clause, the Orioles could have a potential comeback pitcher. Considering Santana has yet to hit the 90 mph mark in his rehab starts, Baltimore would not appear to be putting many of their eggs in that basket just yet. However, there is one player that they would seem inclined to do that for.
Next up is the big fish. The O’s appear to be a front-runner in the Jeff Samardzija sweepstakes, having a good combination of youth and minor league talent that the Cubbies are reporting to be very interested in. Samardzija, who is 29-years-old, is throwing brilliantly for the Cubs this season. However, he does not fit into the Cubs future plans. He currently has a league-leading 1.68 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, but unfortunately for him, the Cubs have only been able to muster up one win for the big righty. The Yankees and the Blue Jays also appear to be major players for the potential NL-Cy Young candidate, so it could turn into a very good end of the year for whoever lands him.
Back to the month of May, with the injury bug plaguing the O’s this season, the team was in need of players to step up in a big way. Here are two players that have kept the team on track when it had seemed the worst was on its way.
Top Baltimore Orioles Player for May: Nelson Cruz – Nelson Cruz was mashing the ball to begin this season and May was a month that saw no signs of slowing down. Cruz currently sits atop the entire MLB in homeruns with 19 and leads the AL in runs batted in with 51. In the last week alone, Cruz is batting .500 with five homeruns, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. With Davis and Wieters continuing to battle injuries, Cruz has picked up the slack and then some.
Top Baltimore Orioles Pitcher for May: Miguel Gonzalez – The Baltimore faithful had hoped to see Ubaldo Jimenez in this spot considering his April start. Although Jimenez has improved, this top spot will have to go to starter Miguel Gonzalez. Since finishing April with an ERA of 5.19, Gonzalez has been able to dramatically improve and has his ERA down almost two runs. In May, Gonzalez has started five games and has a 3.34 ERA, which leads all Baltimore starters this month. Darren O’Day and Zach Britton could have also nabbed this spot with their stunning ERA’s out of the pen, but Gonzalez has remained the best starting pitcher for the O’s, a team in desperate need of consistent quality starts.