Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

Wieters’ bat and arm help O’s take rubber game from Gnats

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After another extremely frustrating seven-plus innings of baseball on Sunday, it looked like the O’s were going to again have their non-existent bats to blame for a loss, and would have to settle for a season split with their neighbors to the south at three games apiece.

Instead, Matt Wieters stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth and delivered with a 2-run bomb to the B’More bullpen for the Birds’ only runs of the day, giving them a 2-1 lead.

They would hold on for the win, as Wieters and Jim Johnson completed the always-exciting strike-em-out-throw-em-out double play to end it in the following half inning.

The victory gave the O’s the series win and a 4-2 record against the Nationals for 2012. It was the Birds’ 41st victory of the season, which is still good for second place in the American League East, 2.5 games behind the New York Yankees.

That the Birds are still hanging around at the top of the division is quite an accomplishment given their offensive struggles of late. I was going to do some research this morning, but thankfully Roch beat me to it:

They’ve totaled 17 runs in their last nine games. They’re 1-for-33 with runners in scoring position in their last seven.

They took two of three games from the Nationals despite scoring five runs. They’ve scored three runs or fewer in eight of their last nine games. They have 12 extra-base hits and are batting .091 with RISP in those nine games.

They’re not active on the basepaths when they actually get a runner to first base. They haven’t stolen a base since June 5, a span of 17 games, which is their longest streak since they went 20 games without one in 1962. The franchise record is 29 straight games in 1955.

Everyone seems to be slumping at the same time. Chris Davis, Mark Reynolds, Brian Roberts, J.J. Hardy. Wieters up until yesterday.

The Birds are going to have to start hitting, as the home stand continues this week with the Angels and Indians, two squads with considerably more “pop” than Washington.

Unfortunately, C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver – Anaheim’s two scheduled starters for the short series on Tuesday and Wednesday – aren’t the best guys to try to get your bats going against. Los Angeles’ two aces boast ERAs of  2.44 and 2.40, respectively.

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