It’s hard to believe, that the Baltimore Orioles had lost 12 straight games to the defending American League Champion Rays. What makes this even harder to believe, is that from 1998 until 2007, the Orioles were a total of 18 games over .500 against the Rays. They Rays had winning seasons versus the O’s in 1998, 1999, and 2003. Then, in 2008, Tampa owned us. They won a season’s best 15 games versus the Orioles, including that 12 game winning streak.
Fortunately, we are no longer playing the 2008 baseball season. This is a new day, a new team, and a new year. With that in mind, the Orioles erased last year’s failures against the league’s best, and escaped with a 5-4 win. Melvin Mora provided just enough offense, driving in three, while Adam Jones continued his hot start with a couple of doubles. Mark Hendrickson, making his Orioles debut, pitched 5 1/3 solid innings, before giving way to the bullpen. Baez pitched well, striking out 4 of the 5 batter he faced, while both Jim Johnson and George Sherrill surrendered home runs.
The one thing that has impressed me so far with the O’s, is that the offense continues to put pressure on the opposing team. They did that in first two games against the Yankees, and even though they failed to add to their 5-1 lead tonight, they always seemed to have runners on base. Too many times, teams relax with a lead, and fail to tack on runs. Again, the O’s failed doing so tonight, but at least they had runners on.
Finally, Evan Longoria is a stud. Plain and simple. Teams continue trying to get the ball in on him, and he continues to crush those pitches. Teams should go back and watch his at bats from the 2008 World Series. Philadelphia was successful in getting him out with pitches out away from him. Four homers in four games, including 2 tonight. It wasn’t a fluke he was the ROY in 2008, and there will be no sophmore slump for him.