There were so many great things that happened over the weekend. A great Golf tournament in Boston where three golfers including Tiger Woods finished within two strokes of each other, a great finish in Atlanta for Nascar and of course the opening of College Football season. However I have baseball fever so once again this week “What Had Happened Was” is dedicated to the three wins that the Orioles recorded over the holiday weekend. It still amazes me that it’s now September 3rd and not only are the Orioles playing meaningful baseball but they are now just one game out in the American League East. Folks wake up this team has a chance to win the AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST. Did that get your attention? The Orioles took two of three in New York and were a heartbeat away from sweeping the Yankees and being alone on top of the A.L. East as we speak.
Not only are the Orioles winning, but they are winning impressively and they are winning even when they don’t play their best baseball. Jason Hammel may pitch this week and it is just in time if there is a serious issue with Chris Tillman’s elbow. You know what though, hasn’t that kind of been the way it has gone for this team all year long? After 14 seasons of losing baseball this may truly be their year. Once again Orioles this “What Had Happened Was” is for you as the magical season of 2012 continues. For you conspiracy and end of the world enthusiasts out there I leave you with this, The Orioles are going to make the playoffs for the first time in 14 years in a year where the world is supposed to end? Well played Mayans, well played. On to our countdown
The third best victory of the holiday weekend was Friday night’s dominant performance over the Yankees. In itself it could have been #1, but the other two wins were just more impressive. Miguel Gonzalez was dominant.
How dominant you ask? His change-up was so good that even the Yankees, who just don’t swing at pitches out of the strike zone, were swinging at pitches out of the strike zone. Gonzalez went seven innings, gave up just four hits and struck out nine Yankee batters. That is the way you set the tone on the road in a huge series late in the season. Now we get to Mark Reynolds. How big of an A.L. East killer has this guy been? He is much maligned but he loves to hit against the Red Sox and Yankees. You have to respect a guy that does things against those two clubs that haven’t been done in decades. This weekend he was the first Oriole to hit multiple home runs in two games of a series at Yankee Stadium since Doug DeCinces did it back in 1981. Earlier this year he single handedly beat the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Oh, and did I mention his defense at first base? Friday night he robbed Russell Martin of a hit early on and he continues to make great plays around the bag even though he is still just learning the position.
The second best victory for the Orioles over the weekend was Monday’s 4-0 blanking of the Toronto Blue Jays. This win was big in my opinion because the Orioles flat out didn’t play their best baseball but they still managed to get the win. The Orioles put the leadoff man on in seven of nine innings, and left 15 men on base. They failed to score a runner from third and less than two outs on three different occasions but they still won the game. Why? It all has to do with Starting Pitching. Joe Saunders rebounded nicely from his first start against the White Sox and was dominant on Monday vs. the Blue Jays.
Saunders pitched no hit ball for 5 2/3 innings and when he did get in trouble in the Seventh Luis Ayala was there to bail him out. I have a quick question for Oriole fans. How do you like the fact that the game is over once the Orioles get a lead heading into the 8th inning? (59-0). It sure beats the alternative that we have all had to watch in year’s past. The other impressive thing about Monday’s win was that the Orioles actually won a game where they didn’t hit a home run. It was a tough day for Manny Machado and the official scorer. How in the world was Machado’s second inning triple ruled an error? Sierra had to run about 200 feet just to get to the ball and while he certainly got there in time by no means was it an easy play. That should have been scored a triple. Then in his next at bat he hit a slow roller that was mishandled by Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ. Again this was a play that may have been made, but it certainly was not easy. Once again it was ruled an error. Two AB’s and Machado was 0-2 when he probably should have been 2-2. That’s just my opinion.