Sunday, June 10, 2012

O's Awaiting Reinforcements, Beat Phils with Walk-off

Running on fumes and staying within striking distance of first place, the Orioles have gotten by with a masterful juggling of AAA talent and a refusal to collapse that exemplifies the personality of their manager, Buck Showalter.

A number of possibilities wait in the wings like the grizzled veterans emerging from the cornfields in the movie, "Field of Dreams."

The 49-year old Jamie Moyer, Miguel Tejada, Chris Tillman, and Brian Roberts could be in uniform for the Orioles in the next three weeks. Nick Markakis will return soon from a broken bone in his hand and Brian Roberts will play on Tuesday night against the Pirates. Nolan Reimold and Zach Britton are also on the road to recovery.

The Orioles beat the Red Sox twice in three games at Fenway last week and have split the first of two against the Phillies in dramatic fashion with an Adam Jones walk-off home run yesterday.  A team that strikes out a lot and makes more than its share of errors is somehow holding its own.

Starting pitching has been inconsistent of late with another Arrieta meltdown leading to a Phillies win on Friday. Jake's issues appear to be mental with a lot of fidgeting and nervousness on the mound as he faces hitters. Chen and Hammel have delivered but they have also had bad outings of late.

Guys like Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Pearce, Steve Tolleson, Ryan Flaherty, Xavier Avery, and Bill Hall have made contributions. 

I saw my first Baltimore Oriole today perched on a telephone wire at the intersection of Lake and Charles. My daughter sighted the bird from the back seat. It turned out to be a good omen.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Losing Streak Ends at 6, O's best Rays, 2-1

After a weak of losses, some short-term bad and long-term good news, the Orioles finally won a game yesterday, 2-1. It was their 30th win of the season which took six games to realize.

Nick Markakis injured his wrist this week. Starting pitching collapsed, and suddenly the Orioles looked like the teams that have strung together 14 losing seasons.

The good news outweighed the bad. Adam Jones signed a new long-term deal. Brian Roberts appears closer to making it back to baseball. Zach Britton and Nolan Reimold could also be ready soon. Nick's wrist could have been much worse.

They had no business winning yesterday. Endy Chavez hit a home run, after weeks of waving a feather bat. An error by the Rays led to another run, and Strop got out of the eighth with a big time double play.
Brian Matusz is beginning to make a case for himself as an ace of the pitching staff.

The schedule has shown us no mercy. We've played a lot of games against Tampa Bay, Boston, and Toronto to make room for inter-league play.  Eventually,  the other teams are going to decode pitching sequences, exploit weaknesses, and take their share of the games. The AL East stalwarts will do everything they can to keep the O's in the cellar. The fact is that we have been winning with unheralded young talent and appear, on paper, with much less firepower than the arsenals of our detestable foes.

Our line-up is makeshift at best and without Markakis, pitchers don't have to work as hard to get us out. On any given day, we have three or four hitters in the line-up who would be better served in the Tidewater area getting their hacks in. Adam Jones has been spectacular, but he's not a prototypical clean-up hitter.

We do have Buck Showalter--and he might be the greatest asset we've got--because he knows how to win.

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