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Orioles' Struggles Stretch Beyond Allowing Home Runs

May 17, 2019
During the Orioles' past three games -- a doubleheader sweep by the New York Yankees May 15 and a series-opening loss to the Cleveland Indians May 16 -- the club has given up a combined seven home runs.

It's a disturbing trend that has hampered the club. 

The Orioles have allowed 91 home runs, which puts them on pace for more than 340 this season. At that rate, they would break the MLB record of 258 set by the Cincinnati Reds in 2016.  

"I don't think it goes over too well," manager Brandon Hyde said about the homers. "It's always tough. We've given up a ton this year and it's just something that we're going to have to really improve on to stay in games."

In addition to those struggles, the Orioles' starters have not managed to go deep into games. This has created more pressure on the bullpen, which has allowed a major league-leading 121 runs.

The Orioles had opened a 5-1 lead in the series opener against the Indians May 16 on a three-run homer by Trey Mancini in the third. 

Then, the game completely unraveled. 

Starter Dan Straily departed after allowing four runs during just 3.1 innings. Four Orioles relievers -- Gabriel Ynoa, Paul Fry, Miguel Castro and Richard Bleier -- gave up 10 runs and eight hits over 4.2 innings in the eventual 14-7 loss. 

"You can't win in this league unless you're putting up zeros out of your [bullpen]," Hyde said. "We have to do a better job of pitching overall."

The Orioles have also been let down by their defense. 

In one sequence against Cleveland in the bottom of the seventh with one out and the bases loaded, Jason Kipnis hit a grounder to second baseman Hanser Alberto, who missed a simple tag on Francisco Lindor running from first base. Alberto then tried to make the play at first, but his throw was too late. First baseman Chris Davis saw Leonys Martin trying to score from second but his throw was also late. 

In conclusion, a potential inning-ending double play turned into a pair of runs without the ball leaving the infield. 

"I think it was just a couple odd plays," Hyde said after the game. "If Hanser, that ball happens again, I think he's going to get a little more urgency to go to the plate. He kind of got stuck in between because the runner, between first and second. They had some breaks, and we didn't, that made it an unreachable game."

The Orioles fell to 14-29, the worst mark in the American League. It was their seventh loss in eight games. General manager Mike Elias said this season was about evaluating players and getting better every day in the first year of a complete rebuild of the franchise. 

Several of the team's pitchers are going to need to get on track in order to remain a viable option moving forward. 

The Orioles' offense also ranks in the bottom third of the league, so some of the team's positional players also need to pick up the pace. They have gone 2-for-20 with runners in scoring position over the last three losses. 

"I think all teams kind of go through those struggles at times," Hyde said. "I think when you're not scoring a ton of runs and you're in that kind of a situation, it's natural to press. Guys try to do too much, maybe, and try to score the guy instead of taking their at-bat. So I just think we still have to continue to have a middle-of-the-field approach and be able to think through the big part of the field and not try to do too much when we have runners out there."

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox