Baltimore Orioles: 3 Things the O's Must Do to Stay in the Hunt
The Indians depart Camden Yards having taken three of four from the Birds, and leave the Orioles with a miserable 3-6 record over their final homestand before the All-Star break.
Now, heading to Seattle and Los Angeles for their final seven-game road trip before the break, the Orioles must right the ship.
The O's are not out of the postseason race by any means. In fact, they still would own the second wild card spot in the American League if the season ended today.
It just doesn't feel that way right now.
Here is what the Orioles must do to remain contenders.
1. Get Brian Roberts Going
Brian Roberts returned in triumphant fashion to the Orioles lineup on June 12, going 3-for-4 with a pair of singles and even driving in a run for good measure.
Unfortunately, his success has been short-lived.
Roberts has gone 1-for-25 since June 24. His season average stands at .181, and he has scored only two runs in 17 games played.
Basically, he's made Orioles fans reminisce about the days of Robert Andino.
The Orioles offense plays drastically better when Roberts is rolling, which is why Buck Showalter and Jim Presley need to find a way to jumpstart the 34-year-old veteran.
Move him around in the lineup, give him a few extra days rest, tweak his hand position in batting practice; heck, splash some more water cups on his face. Anything.
The bottom line is, before the Orioles can think about the postseason, they must get their leadoff man going.
2. Trade for a Front-Line Starting Pitcher
If the Orioles want to show their fans (and opposing teams) that they are contenders in 2012, they must make a move for a front-line starting pitcher to add stability to their staff.
The smoke-and-mirrors approach only works for so long.
The current Orioles pitching staff is not good enough to take them to the postseason. The only way to fix the issue is to trade for a starting pitcher before the deadline.
Possible targets include the Zack Greinke and Matt Garza.
3. Promote Chris Tillman
The woes of the Orioles pitching staff have been duly noted.
The Orioles have at least one—if not two—rotation spots that must be filled.
Dana Eveland was the chosen candidate to replace Tommy Hunter and didn't do himself any favors by promptly getting pounded by the Indians.
Let the Chris Tillman clamoring begin once more.
Tillman, the 24-year-old prospect who has been nearly forgotten because he didn't live up to his initial hype, has began to show signs of life again in Triple-A.
He's posted a 1.06 ERA across his last 17 innings, and with the current state of the Orioles staff, what have they got to lose by bringing him up?