Don’t tell Buck Showalter’s Orioles that their September games are meaningless. After dropping a series opener to the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday, the Birds won the last two games of the series against the Rays and a matinee holiday opener in New York against the division-leading Yankees.
The Yankees (86-52) are now 2.5 games ahead of the Rays (83-54) in the contentious AL East, while the O’s are having a lot to do with the pennant race.
Showalter’s fightin’ Birds will play New York five more times and Tampa three more times before the season’s end. Suddenly, the haves in the A.L. have to be concerned with the perennial have-nots.
Meanwhile, the O’s continue to expand their roster, bringing up David Viola, who was 3.4 with a 3.59 ERA in Bowie.
David Hernandez, who has both started and pitched from the bullpen, is also likely to be called up.
Meanwhile, Koji Uehara, who looked one of Andy MacPhail’s worst signings during the first 4/5 of his two-year deal, is suddenly playing like an elite closer. He’s currently 7/7 in saves with a miniscule 2.38 ERA. He pitched a perfect ninth inning in the Bronx Monday afternoon.
The former Japanese All Star, who struggled as a starter in the States and was often visibly laboring in the humid climate, has been excellent since inheriting the closer’s role.
Hmm, maybe this is why EVERY SINGLE OTHER TEAM IN THE MAJORS WAS ONLY WILLING TO LOOK AT HIM AS A RELIEVER?
Oh well, better late than never. If Koji can help the O’s continue to play the spoiler role, his pitiful first year and a half plus will be forgotten, and he’ll earn another MLB contract somewhere…as a reliever.