Baltimore Orioles: Runs aren’t a problem for now
With a few exceptions, Baltimore Orioles bats are clicking on all cylinders thus far in 2015. This charge is being led of course by Adam Jones, who hammered four homers over the course of the just-completed homestand. Granted the O’s have been shut out once and in one other game managed only one run, however through nine games they’re averaging 5.22 runs per game.
And the Orioles are going to need that run production this weekend, as they travel to Fenway Park for a big four-game series with Boston. Notice that I called it a big series. One might not necessarily view an early season series as very big in April. However if you look at the standings going into tonight’s game, the Birds are one game behind Boston in the division. Having said that, this isn’t about who comes out of the series in first place – yet. It’s about setting a tone for the season in the AL East.
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The Orioles have been done no favors by the schedule-makers in that the first 19 games of the season are being played in the divison. That’s almost the entire month of April. Obviously you’ll end up playing everyone at some point one way or the other, but having so many division games concentrated at the beginning like that does put a greater emphasis on winning right out of the shoot.
Admittedly these four-game sets are a bit difficult because ultimately teams seem to end up splitting the games more often than not. However needless to say, a strong showing in Boston this weekend might well at least make a lot of people re-think their predictions that the defending champs will be in an AL East malaise this year. The Orioles have won several big series’ in previous years at Fenway, including one over the 4th of July weekend last summer, and a big September series in 2012.
The dimensions at Fenway will only help the Orioles’ run output, however the pitching will need to tighten it up a bit.
Courtesy of Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports
Incidentally, Boston’s been yielding runs of late also, having had to out-slug Washington to take two-of-three this past week. But while the Orioles’ bullpen has surrendered runs in every game this year, it’s very early in the season. And thus I would still give them the advantage in that regard.
So the series begins tonight with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound against Boston’s Joe Kelley. Jimenez turned in perhaps the best outing of his Orioles’ career last Saturday night at Camden Yards. He’ll need more of that poise tonight as he takes the mound at “the Fens.”
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