Dan Connolly from the Baltimore Sun and Baltimoresun.com joined The Vinny and Rob Show on 105-7 THE FAN Monday morning to give his insight about the way the Orioles ended their first half. In grading the Orioles pre All-Star performance Connolly gave them a B to B-.

The birds hit the All-Star break with some wind in their sails as they took the final two games from the Rangers and two of three from the Blue Jays. Solid starting pitching allowed the O’s get ahead of their opponents and stay ahead of them. The major success of the ball club was described by Connolly “One thing about Buck Showalter’s teams is that they never get too high or too low. They never have too many really strong streaks or too many really poor streaks.” The longest winning streak of the season for the Orioles is four games. This happy middle ground has the Birds ten games over .500 with sixty six games left to play.

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Through thick and thin during the season Buck Showalter has stuck with his guys. Players like Flaherty, Wieters, and Jim Johnson have caught criticism throughout the year for different reasons. Johnson stated yet another claim why he is still this teams closer. Yesterday he came in with an inherited runner from Tommy Hunter and allowed one hit, struck out two, and got the save. His movement looked alive again. The slider was moving and his fastball was no longer as straight as an arrow. His location was the down in zone and Connolly thinks he is still one of the best closers in baseball. Jim Johnson is still leading the MLB with thirty three saves.

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The starting rotation has began to solidify itself with the return of Chen and acquiring Feldman. Even though the Orioles feel very solid that they can win with any of their five starting their is still a question mark with Jason Hammel. Hammel who was the Birds opening day starter has had some trouble during the first half. His ERA is up over 5 and his record is 7-6. His problem has been with his location. Hammel has gotten in trouble later in games with elevating his pitches. In result with his elevation his home run totals have more than doubled from last season. So far this season he has given up nineteen homers and while through the same amount of games last season he only allowed nine home runs. Hammel expressed disappointment with his first half and said he needs to better during the second half.

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(Programming Note: Intern Zach wrote and posted this article as part of his internship program with CBS Baltimore. Zach is a Communications & History major at Loyola University Maryland.)