Thursday, April 26, 2012

What’s up with the O’s ?

Wow! What a start to the season and the Orioles are making everyone look pretty bad. They are now 11 and 7 on the season, tied for first with the Rays. I would not have thought that they would be in first place at any point on the season. This is not the Oriole team of last year when the Jays owned them going 12/6. The Orioles have won their first series and now have secured the series win for this second set against the Jays. The only ones to beat them are the Yankees, who swept them in the second series of the year. What’s made this change?

Matt Wieters is on an offensive tear. He has 6 HR and 13 RBI with an OBP of .371. Adam Jones has 5 HR and 9 RBI and OBP of .342. Adam Jones had 5 HR and 9 RBI. Roberto Andino, Chris Davis and Wilson Betemit have contributed as well. Nolan Reimold, with 5 HR and 10 RBI, was very hot until he was taken out with stiffness in his neck. So the Orioles have some power. The Jays have done well (but lost) against Louis Ayala and Darren O’Day in run output. Tuesday, they lost to Tommy Hunter (not the singer). Last night, Jason Hammel (ERA 1.73) had his best stuff for the second time in 11 days to again beat the Jays. He allowed only six singles and no runs in six innings making a perfect start to the season at 3 and 0. Hammel and Matt Lindstrom (RL) came from the Rockies just at spring training (traded in a straight up deal for ace pitcher Jeremy Guthrie). It seems that this is working out great for the Orioles. This is the single biggest move the Orioles have made this season. Pedro Strop has now collected his very first two saves off the Jays.

The Jays have not figured out the Oriole pitching, so far. It appears that the Jays had no plan at the plate. The pitching was good but the Jays, as a group, just did not find the offence. Last night, they were baffled by the breaking ball. The bats were cold, and the normally hot-hitting, scrappy Jays we have come to see this year, did not show up.

The Jays offerings to the Orioles were on target as well. Tuesday night, Henderson Alverez pitched 7 innings of 2-hit ball. One hit was a home run. But that’s all it would take to lose. Last night, Kyle Drabek (the good one) went five innings and of 5-hit, two run ball as well. Drabek’s two runs were right in the wheelhouse serving up HRs. Still, good outings for both pitchers, but they had no offence to back them up. So it goes sometimes, and every team loses games no matter how good they are. But…to the Orioles?

Looking over the team totals for the Orioles, they are pretty average. The Rangers, Yankees and Angels are hot in some areas. The Jays have given up 27 HR while the Orioles only 17. The Orioles are average at ERA, WHIP and in hits allowed. The Jays are second best (to White Sox) at hits allowed while the Orioles are average again. Still, this average-ness is an improvement from previous years.

Should one worry about the Orioles? In a word, no. In the AL East, the pressure is too great and the talent pool too strong for an average team to make it. The Orioles are average, so not to fear. They will win some, but, at the end of the season, will fall like a rock and finish fifth.


Larry Toman said...

Orioles are now in 2nd place, due to Tampa Rays ninth inning walk of earlier against the Angels, who have no wings, and Albert has no bat. They enjoyed 1st place for mere hours. Go figure. I agree they will not be in contention when it really matters. It is an interesting logjam right now, and a lot of fun. More news: Monday night will be great exposure for the Jays against Yu Darvish and the Rangers, as ESPN will be in town. Good chance for Chris to meet some of their heavyweights. Cheers!!

Rick Blechta said...

Boy, the O’s sure have the Jays’ number so far this year. I was pretty darn depressed by the end of the game last night. Still, it is good news that the starting pitching has been so good this year.