First off, the Baltimore Orioles now have a fifth all-star in Chris Tillman. Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers started yesterday, making him ineligible to play in Tuesday night’s all-star game, so AL manager Jim Leyland (also Detroit’s manager) had to make a change. That was announced to the crowd prior to the game, but it was only a harbinger of what was to come for the Orioles on the last day of the first half. Scott Feldman picked up his first home win as an Oriole in the Birds’ 7-4 victory. Feldman’s line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K. Not too shabby. While the Orioles finished the first half with a 53-43 record, they also finished in third place behind upstart Boston and Tampa. However needless to say, they’re within striking range.
The Orioles jumped on Toronto starter Josh Johnson early in the game. With them already leading 1-0, Chris Davis doubled home Manny Machado and Adam Jones to give the Birds a 3-0 lead. J.J. Hardy‘s RBI-single would score Davis to put the lead to four. In the last of the third when Davis came to bat again he tied a major league record by hitting his 37th home run of the season before the all-star break, this one with Adam Jones already on base (to run the lead to 6-0). As I’ve said a couple of times this week, it is in fact fair to say that the all-star break is now a week later than it was for years, however one way or another I’m not sure that a technicality as such takes away from the season Davis is having overall. He’ll also participate in tonight’s home run hitting contest at Citi Field as part of the all-star festivities, which concerns many fans. Often times a contest as such will hurt a player’s swing, but time will tell.
Toronto put two runs back on the board in the fourth with a two-RBI single by Maicer Izturis, however the Orioles were not in the mood to have a team come back on them yesterday. Adam Jones, not to be outdone, homered in his third consecutive game in the last of the fifth to make the score 7-2. Toronto would put two additions runs on the board however to no avail as the O’s took the game as well as the series.
So with the exception of the now five Orioles’ all-stars (Tillman, Jones, Davis, Hardy, and Machado), the team will now disperse around the country to their respective destinations. I’m not exactly sure of the timing, however at some point there’ll be a team charter down to Dallas for Friday’s series opener with the Rangers. Players will either report back to Baltimore in time for the flight, or arrive in Dallas on their own in time for the game on Friday. Many fans question what affect the all-star game will have on Orioles’ players. Who knows…but it’s not as if the O’s are the only team sending players to the game. That said, the first half was far from perfect for this team, yet it was also very much a success.