Baltimore Orioles need to be careful vs. Philadelphia


The Baltimore Orioles are looking pretty good these days – a far cry from only a couple of weeks ago when they were losing games 3-1 and so forth. They took two-of-three from Cleveland, swept Boston in three games, and two-of-three from New York. However now they have the Philadelphia Phillies coming to town for two games, before they head to Philadelphia for a short two-game road series (under NL rules).

Cleveland is a team that’s vastly improved since Terry Francona‘s taken over as skipper, and we know who Boston and New York are. (As much as Boston’s struggling, they’re still Boston and they still have good players.) However Philadelphia has the worst record in the league with a .344 win percentage. So…what you’re saying is that these two series’ will be a walk in the park, right? Not in the least. 

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    The Orioles need to be careful not to underestimate Philadelphia. As we’ve said many times, you’re never as good as you appear when things are going well, and never as bad as you appear when things are going south. Philadelphia isn’t necessarily the worst team in the league, regardless of what the records indicate. The O’s over time (this year and in the past) have tended to play both up and down to their opponents. We saw this in the series in Queens against the NY Mets (who granted have been streaking since then), and we saw it this past weekend against the NY Yankees.

    I would also remind fans that a near-hapless Orioles team traveled to Citizens Bank Park for a three-game weekend set in June of 2009. Adam Jones was already in center at that time, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz were still in the minor leagues, and Matt Wieters had just made his big league debut about a month before. But that was not a good Orioles team under manager Dave Trembley, as many fans remember. 

    That poor Orioles team swept a great Philadelphia team in three games that weekend. Keep in mind that the Orioles were probably already playing out a string on the season at that time (or close to it), and Philadelphia was on it’s way to it’s second consecutive appearance in the World Series. (They won it all in 2008, and fell in the 2009 World Series to New York.)

    My point here is that things aren’t always what they seem. So the Orioles can’t take their “I-95 rivals” lightly this week. And it gets especially challenging in the latter part of the week when Ubaldo Jimenez and Bud Norris will have to swing the bat under National League rules. The O’s have been streaking over the past week or so; they need to work diligently this week to ensure that continues.

    Next: Baltimore Orioles: A Game of a different meaning

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