The Baltimore Orioles were hoping ace Jason Hammel was going to shake things up against the Minnesota Twins Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, Hammel followed the same suit as the rest of the Orioles starters.
The 30-year-old was unable to build off of his win on Opening Day against the Tampa Bay Rays when he faced the Twins. Hammel gave up four earned runs on four hits while striking out three and walking three in 6 2/3 innings. Two runs came in the third inning while the other two occurred in the seventh.
It was a performance that the fans in Baltimore have gotten way to use to seeing already this year. The starting pitching for the Orioles has struggled immensely in the first week of the season. In fact, Baltimore has the worst statistical starting rotation in the American League.
The starters for the Orioles have combined for a 5.67 earned run average with 22 strikeouts, 12 walks and a .280 opponent batting average in 33 1/3 innings. The earned run average is dead last in the league while the other numbers are not too far from the bottom. Obviously, these numbers must improve if the organization wants to clinch another postseason berth this year.
If it were not for solid run support from the offense, it is realistic to say that Baltimore would be winless through their first six games. The good news is the rotation is stocked with talent, and the poor performances are certainly a fixable problem. It will just take some determination and leadership on the part of the veterans to turn the early woes around.