Can the Orioles hang in? Diamondbacks? Rays? Yes, folks, it’s that time of the year.
It feels like some teams are teetering. It feels that way even though the statistics don’t really tell that story. At the moment, 20 teams are still within five games of a playoff berth, and three others (Diamondbacks, Brewers and Royals) are right behind. This list doesn’t include the Phillies, who are 8 1/2 out and have seven teams to pass to get the National League’s second wild-card berth. With Ryan Howard and Chase Utley both back in the lineup, the Phillies have to get something going these next couple of weeks. Otherwise, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will have those tough decisions made for him.
The Orioles have lost 11 of 16 and allowed at least five runs in 10 of those 16 games. Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta are all back in the minor leagues as Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter search for answers.
Likewise, the Braves are scuffling. They’ve lost 14 of 23, allowing five or more runs 11 times and scoring three or less eight times. In what’s starting to feel a bit like last season, the Braves get one thing fixed just in time for something else to break.
The Diamondbacks have lost six in a row and been outscored 39-17.
And there are the Rays, who’ve lost 11 of 16. They’re 33-22 against right-handed starters, 11-17 against lefty starters. But offense has been a problem the entire season, especially with the club gutted by injuries (14 players on disabled list at the moment). The Rays have had double-digit hits just 18 times. That’s 25 times fewer than the Angels, who lead MLB with 43.
The Rays have also made 67 errors, second-most in the Majors, as Joe Maddon’s search for offense have led to some odd lineups.
Luke Scott is in an 0-for-39 slump, having last had a hit June 1. According to Elias, the MLB for a position player is 0 for 46 by Eugenio Velez in 2010. Scott missed 17 games with back stiffness during the slump and is 0 for 24 since returning June 28. He has reached base twice during this stretch, drawing a walk on June 28 against the Tigers and getting on via an error on June 8 at Miami.