We’re now two games removed (but still only one day) from the Chris Davis suspension – 23 to go. But it’s something that still caught the clubhouse, the coaches, and writers like me way off guard. Nobody seemed to blame the Baltimore Orioles for coming out a bit flat in the first game yesterday. Yet they still managed to pull through and find a way to win. As for the night cap – well, you see the title…big wheels just keep on turning.
An Oriole starter, this time Bud Norris, once again set the tone for the game by going deep. Norris’ line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K. Granted it gets your pitch count up pretty high, but the ten strikeouts are pretty impressive. Norris has pin point control, and he’s very good at working out of jams. Granted New York didn’t really cause him too much agitation last night, however when guys did get on base he was about to find ways out.
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Following a lead off walk in the fourth, David Lough was sacrificed to second base and he would come into score on Ryan Flaherty’s RBI-double. Alejandro De Aza would add an RBI-triple later in the inning, and the O’s were off to a 2-0 lead.
I’m not sure there’s a player in baseball who’s made an immediate of an impact on a team to whom he was traded during the season than De Aza. After the game he told reporters that he feels like he’s 20 again now that he’s with the Orioles.
It’s contributions like his which will be what ultimately gets the Orioles through the Davis suspension.
Delmon Young’s two-RBI double in the last of the seventh gave the Orioles some breathing room, and then De Aza would add another RBI-triple in the eighth to run the score to 5-0. Brian Matusz came in to pitch the ninth in a non-save situation, and sent New York down 1-2-3 to close out the game .
This was the first time since September of 1984 that the Baltimore Orioles have swept New York in a doubleheader. And while it doesn’t alleviate the sting of losing Davis in the manner that the Orioles lost him, it just adds to their momentum. They’re now in the midst of a six-game winning streak, their longest of the season. And it shouldn’t go lost on fans that all six of those games are against AL East opponents. Now some might point out that the O’s won’t be facing AL East foes come October, and ironically that’s a valid point. But you just have to play hard against whomever you’re playing on any given day.
The O’s also swept this doubleheader without the benefit of a home run, which is interesting. Granted they got two RBI-triples out of De Aza, but is it possible that this team is learning to do things without hitting the ball out of the ballpark? In a bit of a preview of tomorrow, I had the opportunity to speak via telephone with ESPN’s Dan Shulman about the Orioles earlier this week. One of the questions I asked him is if the Birds need to do anything or if they’re lacking in any area to be a more complete team for October. First off, Shulman was very complimentary of the Orioles and he said that all around they’re a great team. He said that one slight concern that he would have might be their reliance on the home run ball. But obviously that wasn’t necessary yesterday.
The series continues this afternoon in a game that will be aired on FOX Sports at 1 PM. Miguel Gonzalez will get the ball for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by NY’s Sean Greene. With the sweep of the doubleheader combined with Toronto losing in Tampa, the Orioles’ magic number to clinch the AL East is down to 5. Again, some might have thought that losing Chris Davis might have been a crippling blow to this team. But big wheels keep on turning – and proud “MARYLAND” keeps on “roaring”!”