Rob Long: A Look At The First Half
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When the season began, the Baltimore Orioles were still the unknown. Who knew whether or not 2012 was a fluke or whether this team could contend?
There were lots of questions surrounding the roster. One of the biggest questions marks was the middle of the order. Last season Chris Davis hit 33 homeruns but could he duplicate that? Adam Jones had career highs in homeruns, doubles and slugging, but know one knew if those numbers represented a career year, or a sign of things to come.
Along with the pitching, who really knew what you would get from young Manny Machado? Defensively, he was exactly what the team needed to get over the hump last season but a .262 batting average and driving in 26 runs didn’t really give anyone an indication of what the kid could do offensively.
Now as the team is at the All-Star break, the O’s have been one of the more impressive offensive teams in the American League. Davis, Jones and Machado are all enjoying their best seasons. What’s even better about that is their all under 30. Machado just turned 21 and is in his first full big league season and he currently leads the league with 39 doubles.
The three, along with J.J. Hardy and Chris Tillman are headed to New York to represent the Baltimore Orioles and the American League in the All-Star game. For years, the O’s have sent players, offen just one per year, to the “Mid-Summer’s Classic” only to participate. This year, they could actually play in a game that could benefit them in the Fall. What if Adam Jones or Chris Davis hit a homerun to win the game and to give the Orioles home field advantage in the World Series. The stakes have never seemed to be that high for the Birds since Bud Selig added that in 2003. No one was thinking that last summer even though they ended up in the postseason.
Here’s to all of the guys representing Baltimore well. More importantly than that, here’s to the final 66 games bringing even more success and fun.