About a fifth of the MLB season is over and the O’s are tied for first place with the Red Sox. Boston has won their last 5, and have also scored 499 runs in the last week. Nice to see the two best teams in this division separate themselves from the pretenders. At 21-12, they only need 48 more wins to match Sports Illustrated’s projection!
The Os had a rough Game 1 of the doubleheader against Oakland, but rebounded to take the nightcap, and haven’t looked back since then. Swept a rain shortened doubleheader against the Twins, and had a great come from behind win against Detroit last night. Down 5-0 in the bottom of the 6th and unable to touch Mike Pelfrey, the Birds scored two runs in the sixth, then put up a 5 spot against the Tigers bullpen. I’ll always have a soft spot for that bullpen because of the 2014 ALDS. They’re just so kind, so giving.
Mark Trumbo Is A Monster
The offense has been good lately, a lot of it has been from Trumbo, who is a monster. Best offseason trade by any team in the league. I should remind you that the O’s traded a third string catcher who wasn’t going to make the team this year, for Trumbo. Shout out to the Mariners for that trade. I don’t know why the M’s love giving us their best players, but I could not be happier to have Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo. Originally brought in as insurance incase Chris Davis left, Trumbo has ended up in right field and has been giving A.L. East pitchers nightmares this season.
Heading into last night’s game, Trumbo was 6th in batting average (.323), tied for 8th in hits (41), 2nd in homers (11), tied for 7th in RBI (27), 5th in slugging (.630), and 5th in OPS (1.002). Again, all the Orioles had to give up for this future All Star was a third string catcher who is batting .179. Is he Torii Hunter in the outfield? Absolutely not, but he isn’t Manny Ramirez either. But he wasn’t brought here to play defense, he was brought to hit Trumbombs.
He provides the lineup protection that Chris Davis and the rest of the O’s need, you can’t pitch around Adam Jones and Chris Davis, because you have a 40 bomb threat waiting behind them. And Camden Yards is just the perfect place for him too. After spending some of last season in gigantic Safeco, he has to love hitting in a hitters park. Trumbo is the perfect compliment to this scary lineup.
Pitching Is….Getting Better?
Guess who’s pitching has been pretty good recently? That’s right, even with Ubaldo’s shaky start last night, the O’s starters have notched 11 quality starts in 15 games. Not bad for a team who’s weak spot was supposed to be their starting rotation. Even with Yovani Gallardo being out (he was terrible when healthy, 1-1 7.00 ERA), the starters have been average. But with this offense, if your starters are average (14th in ERA before last nights game), you will still be in position to grab a win. Because when your bullpen has the best ERA in the league (2.33) going into last night, you can afford for your starters to go 5 or 6 innings. A good offense, and a great bullpen will pickup an average rotation every time, it’s science people.
Gausman has continued to be great, as he had another awesome start this week. Tillman is looking like the Tillman we saw in 2014. Tyler Wilson has been pretty good in his starts as well, a 2.93 ERA with a 2-1 record. He’s not missing that many bats and racking up the K’s, but he isn’t walking people either, 7 walks in 30.2 IP this season. Ubaldo Jimenez is just a damn box of chocolate, you could get a milk chocolate start ( 5/7 start- 8 IP,2 ER, 6 K, 1 BB), or you could get a coconut start (last night- 5 IP, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K). He really is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with his starts, but that is what we have come to find out about him in year 3 of this deal. The bullpen is really what holds the pitching staff together, if they know they only have to go 6, and Brach, Bundy, O’Day, Worley, and Britton can come in and shut it down, that makes it a lot easier for the starters. It’s reaaaal nice to have such shutdown guys coming in with the game on the line.
Chris Davis is hot again. On Sunday he was batting .200 and in a 2-25 slump. Since then he is 9-14 with 4 doubles, 1 Hr, 6 driven in, and has raised his average to .250. If Davis gets into a zone like he was in last year, watch out, this offense is just getting better and better.
Speaking of people getting better and better, Adam Jones finally looks healthy, and is back to hitting the cover off of the ball. I wrote last week that he didn’t look right, and I thought he was still injured. He proved me and everyone else in Baltimore wrong. Jones had a hell of a series in Minnesota, and has gone 7-15 with 2 homers and 6 RBI in his last 3 games. He knocked in some big runs in the ninth in Minnesota the other night, and looks like the Adam Jones of old. Great to see him contributing and helping out the Birds.
Roch Kubatko reported that J.J. Hardy will head down to Sarasota to rehab his broken left foot. Buck said last night that he saw Hardy this week and the foot already looks better, and that the swelling has gone down. I literally have no idea when he will be back, or what his rehab will be like. Foot and ankle injuries are so tricky, especially with guys older in age. If we’re being honest, I’m fine with Hardy taking the full 8 weeks or so to get healthy, and sticking this out with Flats and Manny at third and short.
Manny Machado is going to win MVP and is the best player on the planet.
Friday 5/13 vs Tigers- Chris Tillman (4-1 3.05) vs Justin Verlander (2-3 5.40) Fun fact, Verlander’s jeans in the mirror selfie is wiped clean from Google. Need spooky ghost back.
Saturday 5/14 vs Tigers- Mike Wright (1-3 5.83) vs Anibal Sanchez (3-3 5.89)
Sunday 5/15 vs Tigers- Kevin Gausman (0-1 2.16) vs Michael Fulmer (2-1 6.00)
Tuesday 5/17 vs Mariners- Tyler Wilson (2-1 2.93) vs Wade Miley (3-2 4.91)
Wednesday 5/18 vs Mariners- Ubaldo Jimenez (2-3 4.87) vs Taijuan Walker (2-2 2.63)
Thursday 5/19 vs Mariners- Chris Tillman (4-1 3.05) vs Nathan Karns (3-1 3.38)