The Baltimore Orioles lost two out of three games to the Minnesota Twins after coming off a strong double header against the Pirates. The Orioles scored six runs during the entire Twins series and used a very depleted bullpen that was coming off short rest from the double header. As the Orioles head to Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, fans should think about one thing – there is no real problem yet with the Orioles.
You may ask how scoring six runs during a three game series is not actually a problem or how using too many pitchers each game is not a problem. While there were some problems with the series just played, there haven’t been any serious problems as of yet. Here’s why.
Ubaldo Jimenez, the $50 million free agent signed in the off season, might finally be coming to mid-season form. While his performance was sub-par during his first few starts, he finally notched his first win as a Baltimore pitcher. In his outing in Minnesota, he went 7.1IP and fanned 10 in the Orioles 3-0 shutout of the Twins. Jimenez, often criticized as being a massive bust by the Orioles organization, looks to be trying to prove his haters wrong. This last outing may just be a glimpse of why the Orioles signed him for the next four years to be one of our starting pitchers.
Manny Machado is back and ready to play every inning. Back in September, we did not know how long it would take for Manny to come back and be ready to play again. After starting in his first game of the season with the Orioles in the second game of the double header against the Pirates, he has shown that he is absolutely ready to get back into the swing of things. Since coming back, he has made plays that fans would not have expected Schoop or Flaherty to make in the same position. Once he finds his swing and starts hitting again like he did last year before the injury, Manny will once again become one of the premiere players in the league.
The Orioles currently sport a 15-14 record and are second place in the AL East. There is no team in sole possession of last place at the moment because three are tied at 15-17. Toronto, Boston, and Tampa Bay are all two games back from the division leader New York Yankees. The Yankees currently have a 16-14 record, which is a half game up on the Orioles. What’s the point here? The Orioles are in the toughest and closest division in baseball. While losing one or two games may swing them out of second place, picking up a game or two on the division leader would put the birds in first place. One game is all it will take to thrust the Orioles into first place in the division.
The bottom line here is that the Orioles are not in as bad of shape as they could be considering the outcomes of some of the recent games. If fans really want to worry about the team, that should wait until the middle of the season. With Chris Davis coming along with his oblique strain, it isn’t long before the Orioles have a completely healthy starting lineup, which could be one of the most dangerous lineups in all of baseball once the bats come alive. The Orioles are still in a pretty good spot, and until the middle of June, we won’t really be able to tell what to expect from the O’s as the season continues to progress. Until then, we can keep cheering for the birds as they look to win every series from here on out.