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Bird Watching - Orioles Looking To Climb The Standings Vs The Yankees and White Sox

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The birds sit in third in the A.L. East, 2.5 games back of first place Toronto and kick off the Barstool portion of their schedule this week facing the Yanks and Chisox. Another week, another chance to jump up in the standings. They split their last series with the Blue Jays and took 2-3 from the Rays this past week. Not bad, but they still have some ground to make up.

 

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Offense

It’s coming, I promise. The Orioles are too good of a team to keep putting up these mediocre numbers. Averaging three runs a game over their last six, they shouldn’t have a problem putting up runs at little league sized Yankee Stadium. After being shut out in two of their last nine games, I’m not worried about them getting blanked this weekend.

Their most productive hitter this month is a guy who they cut and resigned earlier this year. Steve Pearce is just hitting the cover off the ball. Pearce leads the team in average this month (.400) and has provided some timely hitting when it seems like no one else is. Pearce has had his number called, and he’s answering.

Nelson Cruz hit a monster home run in Tampa, which is a great sign for him because he has been on the struggle bus this month, only two home runs and six rbis since being hit on the hand on June 1st. I think he was playing through a hand injury, but that’s just me. Hope to see his bat heat up again, and quick.

Gausman

Pitching

Kevin Gausman continues to impress as he picked up another win this week and improved to 3-1 on the season. He showed a veteran like calm this week as he loaded the bases in the first against the Rays, and worked out of it on his way six shutout innings. Since his call up on June 7th, Gausman has a .95 ERA and is looking more and more like the real thing that I’ve said he will be every start.

With Miguel Gonzalez off the DL, that leaves the team with six relievers and six starters. Buck is toying around with a six-man rotation for now, but I’m not sure how long it will last. A traditional five-man rotation will be seen and with Tillman, Norris, Gausman, and Chen pitching pretty well, that leaves two guys fighting for the last spot. My guess would be the guy sent to the pen would be Gonzalez, but others have speculated that if he has a few more bad starts, Baltimore’s new $50 million man could find his way to the pen. Ubaldo Jimenez has been terrible so far, but that would be way too much money to pay a guy coming out of the pen. Also isn’t going to help his confidence.

Manny

Manny Machado

Manny Machado is struggling. Since his tempter tantrum, Machado is batting .205 with no home runs or rbis. While his play in the field is as good as ever, his struggles at bat are starting to worry me.

No doubt Manny’s knee injury is to blame for his struggles. The surgery caused him to miss all of spring training, plus a handful of games at the beginning of this year. Meaning his spring training were the games he played in May. Admittedly, I thought he would be back to his old self, batting .280 with around 15 doubles. I was wrong. He’s impatient at the plate and sometimes looks like he’s just looking to sit back on the bench. Buck has recently moved him down in the lineup from second to seventh, which could be a move to try and take some pressure off him.

Manny Stats

With his suspension yet to be served, I don’t think its a bad idea for him to drop the appeal and sit out his 5 games to give him some time to get his mind right. Part of his struggles could be a mental thing too. Love watching him do his thing in the field, and it sweetens the pot when he’s the double machine he was last year.

 

Upcoming

Upcoming Schedule

Friday night starts a pivotal series with the Yankees. Pretty confident the Birds can take 2 of 3 from the Yanks and get on top of them in the standings. After the Yankees series the Orioles come home to play the White Sox, piece of cake. Should be another easy 2 outta 3 but probably a sweep. I offered to bet JJ and Whitesox Dave but no response from either. Way to have confidence in your teams, guys. 

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