Baltimore Orioles: Good New Trends Giving Confidence


May 2, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (50) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles, in spite of the unusual week for the team and the city, are playing reasonably well as a number of good trends are setting into place.

The Birds had a very good all-around game on Saturday evening in St. Petersburg against the Tampa Bay Rays, winning 4-0 behind what was probably the best start turned in by an O’s pitcher so far this year. Miguel Gonzalez was in total command of his pitches, worked efficiently, and got the team through 7.2 very good innings before yielding to Brad Brach.

The Orioles are now 11-11 – three games behind the Yankees, but only two in the loss column.

Here are some good trends …

Strong Offense – The Orioles have hit will over the season so far and are #2 in the American League in team average and #3 in on base percentage. Before this, when have we ever been able to make that latter statement? As well, the Birds have continued to be among the better teams in terms of clutch hitting with runners on base. Last night, Chris Davis kept an inning alive by driving in the first run of the game with two outs. This was followed by Steve Pearce doubling home two more runs. You have to love that.

Improved Pitching – Without doubt, the Orioles got off to a very bad start on the season with the pitching. But this is now coming around. There have been five consecutive quality starts – one full cycle through the rotation – and it is no coincidence that the Orioles have won four of those games. The relievers are mostly looking better as well. Having the worst ERA in all of baseball just a week ago, the Birds now are 11th in the AL and rising.

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Machado Defense – It is odd that he has had so many errors in a short time to start the season. No Gold Glove this year. But he is fine and will be fine. Fielders go through these stretches, as did J.J. Hardy for a few games in 2014. Manny still makes the great plays – did two of them last night. And the great plays he makes (that few others can) far outnumber the errors he will commit.

Steve Pearce at Second Base – Hey, why not? I’ve gotten over not seeing him as an athlete, in that he does not have the sleek body type of such. He has basic baseball skills, and the Orioles have outstanding infield coaching. Pearce will hit (say, in any given stretch of 200 at-bats) better than Ryan Flaherty or Jonathan Schoop, though this may not always be true. His defense won’t be as good, but neither is it likely to be a liability. Some are speculating that this means one of these other players is more severely injured than revealed and not likely to come back. I don’t think that is it; I think this is Buck building his options.

Caleb Joseph is getting it done – Man, he really caught all of a Chris Archer pitch last night and simply crushed it with a beautiful swing. He is now batting .327 on an 18-for-66; and he also has 10 walks to yield an OBP of .439.  This is more than just getting it done, it is outstanding.

Adam Jones is on the ball – Last night in four appearances, Jones hit three balls on the dime – all of them right at someone. He hit another average grounder and got a single. That’s baseball. But Adam looks the best at the plate that we have ever seen.

So the trends are pretty much all good.

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