Tap-In Question: One West Coast city down, what are your initial observations on this trip? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: One West Coast city down, what are your initial observations on this trip?

So, now what? Same-old, same-old or a revelation?

Any new observations about this Orioles team – and its playoff chances – after one city is down on this 10-game trip?

Maybe this is a little premature – not much of a sample size – but this is what happens in August when you’re a self-proclaimed playoff contender. Every series is worthy of being scrutinized. Therefore, that’s how I’m starting our conversation today in the Tap Room. No deep thinking required. Many of you may be sleep deprived after two late Orioles games in the last three days, anyway. Just a basic, ‘What are ya thinking?’

The Orioles lost the rubber match to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif., 5-1, and are two games under .500 again at 56-58.

Now they go to Oakland to play four against an Athletics’ squad that has the second worst record in the American League. The Orioles need to win three there to head into Seattle with more victories than losses on the trip.

I’ve stressed previously how important this 10-game West Coast jaunt is. In my opinion, the Orioles need to be over .500 when they come back to Camden Yards. They need to continue the momentum they had when they left Sunday. They need to keep showing signs of life to justify not breaking up this club last month. At 1-2, the Orioles now have to go 5-2 to escape the west with a winning record. Doable, but not ideal.

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Mathematically, I think they are going to be hanging around the Wild Card battle for a while; that is just the way it appears in a race in which no one is running away.

But, realistically, it’s all about playing well now and beating up on sub-.500 teams before the final month’s gauntlet against the American League East.

These Orioles were outscored 10-9 in the LA series, but plated just three runs in the final two games, ones that were started by Angels’ rookies (including a former Oriole).

My two observations from this series:

The old broken record with this offense: Homer, and score. Don’t homer, and struggle. When they don’t go deep – six of their nine runs came via the home run in this series and four on one swing by Manny Machado on Monday — the offense kicks and sputters. A bad omen if the Orioles reach the postseason again and has to face elite pitching.

Secondly, the Orioles’ starting pitching held its own in the series. And that’s the key this season, of course. Kevin Gausman made a couple mistakes Wednesday, but otherwise did OK.

Now, I want your thoughts about these past three games: Good, bad or still not ready to commit?

Tap-In Question: One West Coast series down, what are your observations about this key road trip so far?

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