Baltimore Orioles: Three Keys to Making the Playoffs

Jul 13, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jason Hammel (39) throws in the third inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

They’re doing everything they can possibly do to stay in the playoff race, but the Baltimore Orioles are struggling to find an identity heading into the most crucial part of the schedule.

It seems like it’s something different every night. No matter the opponent, Buck Showalter’s Birds are losing in some kind of unique way every time you turn to look.

Now, it’s searching time—the time to dig deep as a team and find out who they really are.

It’s going to take all hands on deck, but it’s achievable.

If the team can get just a few aspects of the game together, they’ll fight with every last bit of energy and maybe just squeak in to the 2013 Postseason.

Clutch Hitting: The Achilles Heel of this year’s campaign has been hitting with runners in scoring position; and although the Orioles aren’t dead last in this category, they fail at the most inopportune times. Nick Markakis has been cold to say the least and Chris Davis never really was the same after the All-Star break. No matter what has happened—the lack of clutch hits is the prime reason for Baltimore’s demise.

To make this a successful campaign, the month of September has to be full of highlight reel offensive performances and timely hitting. Without this, you can wave the playoff chances “bye-bye”.

Playing the Must-Wins: This month consists of playing the Chicago White Sox four times and then two series with the Toronto Blue Jays. Besides that, it’s the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays for the rest of the way. Needless to say, the O’s need to cash in their easy games for easy wins if they want to stay in the race.

They have the pitching, and with key number one, they have the hitting. It’s all about coming together as a team and making this last month one to remember.

Jason Hammel is Back: The team reinstated Jason Hammel off of the DL today in hopes that he can be the big spark that propels the team to wins every fifth day. Sure, it’s a lot to ask, but it sure would be nice if he can put together at least three quality starts this month.

Hammel has the pitches and effectiveness to do it, it’s all about control and veteran knowledge for the well-seasoned pitcher.

Will fans in Baltimore be treated to a pleasant surprise or will it all come crashing down in Baltimore?

Topics: Baltimore Orioles, Jason Hammel, Nick Markakis

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