Bird Watching - Orioles Roll Over The Sox, Are Heating Up
2 weeks into June and the Orioles are creeping up on first place. 3.5 games back of the Blue Jays who continued their losing streak last night at Camden Yards. Took 2 of 3 from the Red Sox and only gave up 1 run in that series, not too bad. They’re closing ground on the Jays and it’s only a matter of time before this is a first place ball club.
The Birds are starting to hit the long ball- 17 so far in June leads the majors. Nelson Cruz still leads the league with 21 bombs and rbis. Chris Davis has shown signs of breaking out, but then slides back into a slump. Now would be an okay time to panic. .231 average and 10 homers isn’t what we were expecting from Crush, but as we know, he can turn it on at any point. Adam Jones continues to be fantastic. Hovering around .300, 10 homers, and 40 rbi. Guy just rakes. Nick Markakis is one of the most underrated players in the game. Batting .403 in the first inning and seems to have found his power stroke in June, batting .333 with 3 dongs this month. Awesome to see that he just jumped to 7th on the all time Orioles hit list. Nick Markakis, professional hitter.
It looks as if the Orioles starters are starting to get it together. After Ubaldo Jimenez’s disgusting start on Sunday (2.1 IP,6 ER, 5 BB) the pitchers have been outstanding. Norris, Tillman, Chen, and Gausman have combined for 2 ER in 27 innings. Pitching is contagious.
Kevin Gausman has been thrown into the snake pit this season and has done a hell of a job. With his three starts coming against three division leaders, Tigers (L), Athletics (W), Blue Jays (W), Gausman has held his own, giving up 2 ER in 13 innings over his last two starts. With Miguel Gonzalez due off the DL soon, Buck hasn’t committed to Gausman starting next time through the rotation, but I’m hoping we see him in the rotation for good. 85 MPH change up with a fastball that reaches 99? Yeah, this kid’s the real deal.
I talked about pitching above but can we focus on Zach Britton real quick? A former top prospect and failed starter, Britton spent most of the past two seasons in the minors. He found a role in the bullpen and has been one of the biggest surprises for the Orioles this season. His sinker has been absolutely filthy and is one of the reasons he’s one of the best relievers in the game right now. 64 ground ball outs and only 8 fly outs this season for Britton, that’s pretty good. He has 7 holds, is 6/7 in save situations, and has a 3-0 record this season with a 0.78 ERA in 34 2/3 innings..ridiculous.
With three more games against the Blue Jays, and then beginning their road trip in Tampa, these are the series that can really help the Birds pull away. Taking 3 of 4 from the Jays would be huge, a split is more likely. Last time the Orioles went to Tampa they swept the Rays. Hard to think that the Rays are even worse now than they were at that point. All signs point to another Orioles sweep of the Rays.
Special shoutout to stoolie @Keith27Ryan for snatching me this Manny bobble head at the game.
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