Baltimore Orioles Wrap Up Strong Week


Jun 14, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) runs past New York Yankees second baseman Stephen Drew (14) on Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) singles during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles wrapped up a strong week after sweeping Boston and taking two of three from the New York Yankees.

The Baltimore Orioles started the week by beating the Cleveland Indians to prevent a sweep from occurring. They then played three against the Boston Red Sox, bringing out the brooms in a series sweep.

The Orioles then took the first two against the New York Yankees, before losing the third game 5-3 on what was a swelteringly hot series in Baltimore.

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So, what have we learned? A number of things.

The Orioles win games when Brian Matusz is suspended, and then he comes back and they lose. Matusz played a role in that too. He came on after Mike Wright, who did not have his best stuff, walked the bases loaded. Matusz proceeded to walk someone right away, tie ball game.

Matusz almost wiggled his way out of it, but a scorcher off the glove of Manny Machado (a play he had next-to-no chance of making) scored two, and the Yankees went up 5-3, the final score.

All the blame doesn’t go to Matusz, but walking the first person you face in almost two weeks is inexcusable. And it isn’t like John Ryan Murphy (who had the RBI double) is a good hitter.

Having Matt Wieters and Nolan Reimold on this team has already paid dividends. The Orioles now have a starting outfielder who can play almost every day. Reimold is patient at the plate, hitting well, has power, and can also play the OF without any issues.  He should be the everyday left fielder.

Wieters has been good since coming back as well. He has brought stability to the defense, as has the return of J.J. Hardy. And, with Wieters back it allows Caleb Joseph to go back to playing less, and he has excelled when called upon.

The starters have got to go deeper into games. Out of all the great performances this week, the starting rotation didn’t have many. Sure, there were a lot of gutsy performances. But, too many starters had Buck Showalter take the ball out of their hand before they got through six innings. The bullpen is not overtaxed, because Buck is such a magician with the bullpen. But, the starters are not pitching great. You could say good if you were speaking optimistically, but the bullpen has masked a lot of it by being fantastic.

The other bad news for the week is the fact that only six teams in all of baseball were 7-3 or better in their last 10 games.

Two of them are the St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates, both at 7-3. Also 7-3 were the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. 8-2 for the Baltimore Orioles, but 10-0 for the Toronto Blue Jays.

It is way too early to worry about other teams, but the AL East is no longer being talked about as having a down year.  In fact, recently they have been nothing short of excellent. Except for the Red Sox, who are a train wreck.

The Orioles play four games against the Philadelphia Phillies this week. The Phillies played 33 innings (two extra inning games) and only scored THREE runs. In the two extra inning games, the Phillies scored a total of ZERO runs.

And, their pitching is not all that good, either. The O’s will face Aaron Harang, Jerome Williams, Kevin Correia, and Sean O’Sullivan. The O’s should be able to at least win three of four in the home-and-home series.

After that, the O’s will start a series against a team they need to start playing better against. That would be the Toronto Blue Jays. By the time the weekend comes around, that series could be a big one in the AL East.

Next: Machado and Davis putting it together