After taking two out of the games against the Atlanta Braves that included two shutouts, the Baltimore Orioles ironically were shut out twice in their next series against the New York Mets, getting swept with a loss on June 20 by the score of 4-3. Dillon Gee picked up his fifth win of the year for the Mets, while Brian Matusz had his eighth loss of the year.
Brian Matusz had another mediocre game against New York, going nearly five innings while giving up three runs on seven hits to go with two strikeouts on the night. A lot of his performance had to do with falling behind early against New York's lineup, as he only threw 15 first pitch strikes to 24 batters. That ran up his pitch count early in the game, and as a result he failed to get to five innings in the game. It is getting more and more difficult to figure Matusz out, as he has some great outings every once in a while mixed in with a bevy of performances like this. Similar to Jake Arrieta Brian has little to no consistency at all, and it is starting to hurt the Orioles now given that they aren't hitting as well as they did to start the year.
Among the many casualties at the plate (or as I like to say, visitors at the bagel store) in the series against the Mets was Christ Davis, who went 0 for 4 in the June 20 game and 0 for 8 in the series overall. Over the past six games Davis has only gotten two total hits making his average go from .308 to .283 on the year. He has been one of the breakthrough hitters for the Orioles this year along with Adam Jones, and I think it is just a bad stretch of games for him more than anything else. All players go through ups and downs as seasons progress, and this just happens to be a down time for him right now. However, the rest of the lineup (Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy in particular) needs to step it up to replace his production, or else Baltimore will go through more series like they did against the Mets.
The Baltimore Orioles will look to recover in their next series against the Washington Nationals, with the first game starting on June 22 as Jason Hammel takes the mound against Jordan Zimmermann. Hammel has been great for the Orioles this year, and I would expect for him to take advantage of the lineup the Nationals have right now. The real question is whether or not the Orioles will bounce back on offense, and with a day off and R.A. Dickey well in the past, they should get a few hits to start the series off.
Ryan Kekoufski has been following the Baltimore Orioles since Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak, and still enjoys watching games at Camden Yards from time to time.