Mark Connor surprisingly stepped down as Orioles pitching coach three weeks ago, prompting manager Buck Showalter to promote bullpen coach Rick Adair to oversee the pitching staff in his place. I'm not laying the blame on Adair -- the mishmash rotation was already starting to crack when Connor left the team -- but the pitchers have really struggled since the midseason switcheroo. I could just be coincidence, but check out the numbers.
The Orioles had a 4.22 ERA when Connor, who said he was tired of the big-league grind, resigned on June 14. Since then, it has risen to 4.50, giving the Orioles the second-highest ERA in the American League.
In this three-week stretch -- in which the Orioles have gone 6-14 and dropped out of shouting distance in the AL East -- the pitching staff allowed 5.4 earned runs per game. They have only gotten two quality starts from the fading rotation -- and one was Mitch Atkins’ squandered start in Tuesday night’s loss.