Reporting Bob Haynie
The Baltimore Orioles returned from the All-Star break in a big way.
The Birds opened the second half of the season in style by sweeping the Texas Rangers three games in Arlington. Given the fact that the Rangers are pretty good team, that is a nice accomplishment for manager Buck Showalter’s crew.
Remember when Texas came to Camden Yards a couple of weeks ago and scored 16 runs in winning the first two contests of a four-game set?
Well, since then, the Orioles have won five-straight over the Rangers.
What impressed me the most about the Orioles during the sweep was the performance of their starting pitchers. Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman all pitched into the seventh inning as they posted quality starts. Tillman actually threw into the ninth inning as the Birds won on Sunday night, 4-2.
I have been talking all season about the inconsistencies of the rotation. But over the last three weeks, GM Dan Duquette traded for Scott Feldman and Chen came off the DL after missing two months with an oblique injury.
Things appear to be coming together.
The Orioles have posted seven quality starts in their last eight games.
If Jason Hammel can get himself straightened out, this rotation becomes strong. Hammel has the arm to be an ace, as we have seen at times. His improvement in the second half is paramount.
Heading into Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals, the Orioles have won four-straight. We have been waiting all year for the Birds to put together the big winning streak. Could this be it?
With the first-place Boston Red Sox looming at the end of the week, this would be the perfect time to make it happen.