Monday, December 22nd, 2014

20-4; 0-2

0

The first number is the score by which the Angels outscored the O’s during their short two-game series this week. That’s right, twenty runs for the bad guys, and only four for the good guys.

Tuesday seemed bad enough, when L.A. banged out 17 hits on their way to a 7-3 win. As anybody who watched that game knew, the final score could have been much worse.

Well, on Wednesday night, we saw exactly what “much worse” looked like. The Angels “only” managed 16 hits last night, but they plated 13 runs en route to a 13-1 victory to close out the two-game sweep. The most disheartening thing about it was that they managed eight of those runs off the O’s best starter, Jason Hammel, in just 3 1/3 innings. Hammel had been working on a consecutive scoreless innings streak of 19 coming into the contest.

The good news is that, while getting outscored by a score of 20-4 in two games is absolutely horrific, it only shows up as 0-2 in the standings. The Angels have packed up and moved out, never to return to Baltimore in 2012 (unfortunately, the Birds travel to L.A. for a four game series next week; let’s hope the Angels have cooled down a bit by then.)

The O’s find themselves in their second extended slump in a month, as their offense continues to be absolutely anemic. They have scored just 14 runs over their past nine games, an average of 1.55 runs per game. They’re an abysmal 2-for-47 with runners in scoring position over that stretch, and they haven’t scored more than three runs since June 16.

After losing six straight at the end of May and into June, the Birds bounced back by winning four straight series, going 9-3 over a 12-game stretch. They’ll need to do a similar righting-of-the-ship here quickly, unless they want to find themselves in (or near) the AL East basement by the All-Star game.

They have an opportunity to do just that starting tonight against the also-reeling Indians. They need to beat up on the tribe and take at least three games out of the four game set before flying west to face the lowly Mariners and then – ugh – the Angels again.

5-2 or 6-1 over the next seven games and Birdland will be able to breathe a bit easier. Anything less and the chorus of “here we go again” will only get louder and more prominent.

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