Lack of quality starts a concern for Showalter

June 24th, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Orioles' pitching problems continued to mount Friday night, as Baltimore watched starter exit in the third inning en route to a 15-5 rout by Tampa Bay that put the O's woes -- in the rotation and bullpen -- on full display.

For the sixth time in 14 games, the Orioles allowed double-digit runs, with the team getting quality starts just twice in the last 20 games. In that 20-game stretch, Baltimore has allowed five or more runs in every single one, a dubious mark that ties the 1924 Phillies for baseball's record.

"It's been really tough," Jimenez said of the past month in Baltimore. "It's not easy to come to the stadium every day knowing that you are going to be struggling. I know we are all expecting that things are going to end one of these days, but it keeps happening. The only thing we can do is keep being positive and keep fighting every day."

Unwanted lore aside, there are some serious issues for an Orioles starting staff that is struggling collectively and lacks a clear internal solution.

"Got to pitch better. It is what it is. The help's going to come from within," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We got to get back in step and create some rhythm for the offense, and even the defense gets out of step when the game's being played so choppy and not very crisp. I really don't like hanging it around one phase of it, but it starts if we could just string some good starts together. You can get into some type of rhythm."

Jimenez, coming off a rare quality start, put the O's in an immediate four-run hole. By the time he recorded seven outs, the Rays had nine runs, with Jimenez charged with seven hits and four walks, including a pair of homers. The righty --who was demoted to the bullpen earlier this season -- has an ERA of 7.26.

But he's hardly alone. Chris Tillman has an 8.39 ERA. has a 6.47 mark and Wade Miley is at 4.48, though -- after a solid start -- he's pitched to a 7.81 mark over his past six starts. Only has a sub-4 ERA as the O's rotation has given way to the team posting the worst staff ERA in the Majors and the bullpen has picked up 273 1/3 innings, the most in the American League.

"We're in a stretch with unfamiliar territory, I think, to a lot of guys," Orioles center fielder said. "I think that everybody, especially on the pitching front, they want to be that guy to get it done, get it done, get it done. It's frustrating. I'm sure they're more frustrated than anybody else because they're the ones out there throwing the ball.

"But I stick behind our pitchers, our players … trust me. I know that they're frustrated. If anybody else is frustrated, imagine how they must feel. I think we just need to keep grinding. Good times are going to come back."