The Baltimore Orioles 2015 season is starting to head in the opposite direction of the team’s 2014 campaign.
Last year’s squad had one of the top records in baseball after July 1, playing at a 52-27 clip to sure up the AL East.
This year, however, since the calendar has flipped to July, Baltimore (46-48) is just 5-12, and has fallen seven games back of first place New York after being swept by the Yankees in the teams’ most recent meeting.
A big reason for last year’s success down the stretch for the Orioles was the acquisition of relief pitcher Andrew Miller from the Red Sox. Miller was a pivotal part in Baltimore’s run to the post season, posting 2-0 record and nine holds with a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings pitched.
Obviously, though, Miller is no longer on the team and now wears the Yankee pinstripes.
So the question becomes who will this year’s Andrew Miller be for the O’s if they want to get back into contention?
Every team could use more pitching, and the Orioles are no exception.
With multiple big-name pitchers on the market, such as Cole Hamels and David Price, General Manager Dan Duquette shouldn’t be afraid to get rid of a prospect for the future like Kevin Gausman – who appears to still not be ready for the big leagues – or even Dylan Bundy, in order to win in the present. Bud Norris, who has struggled mightily this season, has also been rumored to be on the trade block.
Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen, who both struggled at the beginning of the season, have also both been improving as the season progresses. Despite his record, Chen sports a 2.86 earned run average, which is eighth in the American League.
One good starting pitcher could pick up the slack for not only the pitching staff, but also for the offense, which isn’t performing at the level it was last year, either.
Adam Jones and Manny Machado have been the club’s most consistent batters. The same could be said about Chris Davis, who currently has 21 home runs, and is hitting right around his usual .240 average.
But other than those three the offense has been anything but consistent.
Jimmy Paredes and Chris Parmelee have provided sparks at times, but both have cooled off since their hot streaks immediately after being called up to the majors. Parmelee especially has cooled off, with his average at .230 after Thursday’s game against the Yankees.
With Parmelee becoming the starting first baseman since his call up, which moved Davis into right field, all the positions seemed to be filled except a corner outfielder to roam left field.
Upton would probably be the better fit both in the clubhouse and on the field. He is naturally a left fielder, which is what the Orioles need, and he appears to be a much better teammate than Gomez.
It is clear that Baltimore needs to make at least one move in order to have a chance to compete for the division crown the rest of the way. A pitcher would be top priority, but picking up a solid bat to bolster the lineup is also needed.
Either way, Duquette and the Orioles need to be at the center of the trading world around Major League Baseball over the next week or so, or else the season will probably slip away.