Go West Young Orioles
After the emotional roller-coaster ride of the last two games against Boston, it is hard to tell just what state of mind the Baltimore Orioles will be in as they hit the road for a seven-game West Coast swing.
One thing for sure is that they can’t have a repeat of the performance displayed the last time they trekked out west a month ago.
On that trip, which followed a home stand in which the Orioles had won five of seven games, Baltimore won the first game in Seattle 1-0 on the best outing of the season for starting pitcher Rich Hill.
They then proceeded to lose five straight games with each performance seemingly worse than the one before.
The Orioles were outscored 32-10 in the final five games of the trip and were bad both offensively and on the mound.
The starting pitchers in the three games in Oakland combined to pitch only 4.2 innings while allowing 18 earned runs. At the same time, the usually reliable offense scored only five runs while hitting .200.
So far in 2009, the Orioles have been bi-polar: looking like a contender at home and like a Double-A team on the road.
No team in baseball has a greater differential between home and away batting averages than Baltimore (.299 at home and .238 on the road). The Orioles are 24-20 at home and 11-23 on the road.
With 16 of their next 19 games away from Camden Yards, the Orioles better figure out how to turn things around, or the next three weeks are going to be pretty miserable.
Short of packing up the B&O Warehouse and dropping it behind right field at their upcoming destinations, the Orioles need to find some way to feel like they are at home when playing on the road.
I guess the Birds could take a page out of the great baseball movie Major League and sacrifice some chickens, but I’m not sure that would work either.
So, it is up to manager Dave Trembley and the veteran members of the starting lineup (Aubrey Huff, Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora) to get the offense moving on the road.
Playing the next four games in Anaheim, where the Angels are 20-15 so far in 2009, won’t be easy. However, this road trip provides a great chance to forget the final game against the Red Sox and concentrate on getting better one game at a time.
Learning to play on the road and through adversity is part of the maturation process for a young team and just one of the many baby steps the Orioles must take this season.
Even if the West Coast trip doesn’t yield a lot of wins, what is more important is that the Orioles play better than they did on their previous trip.
If they can battle every night the way they did in their epic comeback against the Red Sox, then the wins will start taking care of themselves.
Check out Dean Hybl's sports blog, Sports Then and Now, to read about some of the great moments in sports history and how they connect to the current world of sports.
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