Melvin Mora has been activated from the disabled list today which is surprisingly good news. Ty Wigginton has been a butcher at third base so far this year and it may be because he needs to lose a little weight. He rakes lefties but is much better suited to come off of the bench due to his lack of defense. The return of Mora not only improves the infield defense but it also forces the Orioles to send Matt Albers down. I think Albers’ slow start is due to choosing rehab for his labrum injury instead of electing to have surgery. I still think that he is going to be a good reliever in the long run but he needs to get the surgery if he wants to return to form.
Over the weekend the Orioles lost a series against the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are a team that contenders will routinely pound night in and night out because they lack pitching. Losing 3 of 4 to the Rangers sums up the Orioles’ season thus far considering we hit well but couldn’t get anyone out. I attended the game on Friday night and I was thoroughly impressed with the crowd. The camaraderie in the stands was fantastic and it was evident that the town still loves the birds. However, the strong showing probably had more to do with the great weather and ice cold beer than with Oriole magic, considering the amount of Yankee jerseys and apparel from teams not named the Baltimore Orioles seen around the yard. There was a little too much alcohol flowing on this particular college night because a shirtless punk decided to run out onto the field, the game was delayed for a time but it was good to see the fans were at least paying enough attention to notice the idiocy.
It is however apparent that George Sherrill is not a closer, he puts too many guys on base and he gives up too many hits. Sherrill may have made the All-Star team last year but he is at best a situational closer as witnessed by his performance toward the end of last season. Chris Ray needs to assert himself as the closer so that Sherrill can return to a more natural set-up role. The fans deserve to leave the stadium in a good mood instead of departing with elevated blood pressure because Sherrill gives up a walk-off to Michael Young. Having a lefty as a closer is tricky because they often face tough match-ups against good right-handed hitters at the end of the game and can be overmatched in that situation.
The offense is still clicking most nights which helps keep the game interesting especially if the Orioles are behind in the later innings. How good is Adam Jones by the way, he is a complete stud and is rapidly approaching star status, his homerun on Sunday was only a harbinger of heroics to come. I like the fact that we can slug it out with teams adept on offense, it’s truly a wonderful thing considering a couple of years ago Jay Gibbons was the power in the middle of the order. But the truth is the O’s will not approach .500 until they get better effort from the starting pitchers. I didn’t think I would ever say I am excited to see Rich Hill but I think he has a chance to improve the rotation when he returns. Also, something appears to be wrong with Jeremy Guthrie and I hope that he does not have any residual effects from last season’s shoulder impingement. Guthrie is no ace but he can pitch more effectively than what he has shown thus far.
The weekend didn’t go so well but hopefully they bounce back tonight against the Angels. The birds have won all of their three game series this year so hopefully that trend continues. Good luck to Adam Eaton, it would be great if he produced another miracle start just as he did on Thursday against the White Sox. A sweep of the Angels would be nice in order to be in good standing heading into their match-up against Toronto.