Bob Haynie: The Orioles Surge Into First Place
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At this time last week, I was writing about the Baltimore Orioles losing three of four games to the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards and how the 11-game home stand was not going as planned. The Birds were having a hard time handling their business.
What a difference seven days makes.
After going 6-1 against the Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox, the Orioles have overtaken the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. Heading into Monday night’s game in Washington against the Nationals, Baltimore’s lead in the division stands at two games. This is their biggest lead atop the standings since May of 2012.
The Orioles started the week by sweeping the Rangers in Baltimore and finishing that 11-game stretch at Camden Yards 7-4. Then it was off to Boston were they took two of three from the Sox at Fenway. Sunday’s game was a thriller that the Orioles eventually won 7-6, in 12 innings.
RHP Brad Brach had a big week for manager Buck Showalter as he earned three wins out of the bullpen. Closer Zach Britton earned four saves as he continues to flourish in that role.
As the Orioles were rolling, the Blue Jays were losing seven of nine. The Oakland A’s swept Toronto four games over the weekend to help the Orioles move into first place.
Baltimore got more good news on Sunday night as three players were voted as starters on the American League All-Star squad. DH Nelson Cruz and CF Adam Jones will represent the AL at Target Field in Minnesota. C Matt Wieters was also voted in. Unfortunately, Wieters is out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and will not play.
While the news has be mostly good for Baltimore over the past week, the prolonged slump of 1B Chris Davis continues to confound everyone.
Davis, a 2013 AL All-Star, has seen his batting average plummet to .201. Since May 22nd, Davis is hitting .149 with 61 K’s. Over his last 10 games, Davis is 2-for-34 with 15 strikeouts. Of course, these are terrible numbers.
Can Davis get rolling? I have no clue.
If he does, the Orioles will be a very dangerous team in the second half of the 2014 season.
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