The Orioles just wrapped up the first half of their 2012 season and hit the break at 45-40. They just wrapped up a 3-4 road trip and were able to muster only a Steve Pearce 3-run homer in their last three games against the Angels. Luckily for the Orioles that home run was good enough to back Miguel Gonzalez’s great effort in his first Major League start and the Orioles avoided being swept in Anaheim. Jim Johnson saved that game for Gonzalez and now leads the American League in Saves. He is one of the big reasons the Orioles are above 500.
It’s easy for Orioles fans to feel bad about how this team finished the first half of the season. Three of the five starters that started the season in the Orioles rotation are now pitching for Norfolk, the hitting has been absolutely pathetic (they are tied for the 2nd worst OBP in the American League), they lead the American League in errors and they finished the first half of the season being shut-out in their last two games. Not exactly things which make you feel good about yourself as you head into the second half of the season.
Oriole fans shouldn’t be discouraged though because this team has shown something that no Orioles team has shown in the last 15 years, resiliency. They have definitely been a resilient bunch. They battle hard, have shown the ability to come from behind and for the most part are never out of a game. For this week’s what had happened was I wanted to look back and give you my top three Oriole victories of the first half of the 2012 season.
My top two games of the first half were pretty clear cut but choosing number three was a little bit tougher. I could have picked a couple of Jason Hammel wins because he was very dominant in the first half of the season, but I thought that one of Wei-Yin Chen’s starts was more important. For number three we go back to May 10th. The Texas Rangers were in town and had just plastered Orioles pitching for 24 runs in the first two games of their four game series. The Orioles bashed back in the first inning that day going back to back to back in the first inning for a 3-0 lead. Colby Lewis settled down after that and no hit the Orioles for the next five innings. Chen was able to outpitch Lewis and was still on the mound in the seventh when the Orioles finally extended their lead to 6-1. Chen pitched 7 2/3 that day and gave up just two runs before turning things over to the bullpen in the Orioles 6-5 victory.
Number two showed the Orioles ability to comeback in 2012. The Orioles did a great job of scoring runs late in games in the first half of the season and lead the American League in homeruns in the seventh inning or later. They set the tone early in the season with a couple of big comebacks in Toronto, but there was no bigger comeback than the one they pulled off at home against the Oakland A’s on April 29th. A’s starter Bartolo Colon took a four hit shut-out into the ninth inning and it looked like the Orioles were headed for a disappointing 2-0 loss. Two infield hits, a double and Wilson Betemit’s three-run homer would turn a loss into a victory and give the Orioles momentum heading to New York. Hardy and Jones’ singles were infield singles and Colon didn’t help himself by throwing the ball down the right field line. The Orioles would go on to win five of the next six games against the Yankees and the Red Sox.