The Orioles will continue their trip down memory lane as they will take on another bygone World Series foe in the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds come into Baltimore in third place in the NL Central and assumed to be deeply entrenched in the playoff hunt. The Orioles, by contrast, are not. The Birds are coming off of three consecutive lost series, each of which had some very very winnable games.
Extra-inning loss in Toronto.
18 hit/ 4 run game in DC.
Late two-base mega-error game in Pittsburgh.
Because of this the Orioles are once again at a season-high six games under .500 and a 10 games out of first. With the Reds coming in tonight it starts a string of series for the Orioles that could bury this team completely if they aren't careful. Three against the Reds followed by three each against the Cardinals, Braves and Rangers. After that four games in Boston then back to Baltimore for four against Cleveland and another three against Boston.Needless to say the Orioles have hit a rough spot in their schedule, this is why you need to beat the teams you are "supposed" to beat and win the games you are "supposed" to win.
On the brighter side Nick Markakis is getting his swing back. In the last two weeks he is batting .404 with an OPS over .900, Mark Reynolds is now batting .231 with an OPS over .800 and J.J. Hardy has become an excellent leadoff hitter. In the leadoff spot J.J. is batting .356 with an OPS of 1.112.
That leads us to the next issue, Brian Roberts. There is no chance Brian Roberts will be back before the All Star Break but he will likely return at some point this season. If Hardy is putting up these kinds of numbers in the leadoff spot I don't see how it is possible you can move him from there. I know it is some kind of unwritten rule that a player should not lose his job due to injury, especially the freakish one that Roberts suffered, but the point remains Hardy is killing the ball in the leadoff spot. Along that same line of thought, the Orioles need to start work on extending Hardy's contract as soon as possible.