The Orioles have been playing some pretty stiff competition lately and they have stepped up. The split of yesterday's double header ensured that the Orioles would escape Minnesota with a series split, though a win today would be really nice. The Birds' record it still an abysmal 9-22, but since their 2-16 start they have played baseball that is more like we expected and played to a record of 7-6, with five of those six losses coming against the Yankees. A win today would mean the Orioles are no-longer the WORST team in baseball and we can all breath a sigh of relief over that.
Also, the Orioles welcomed back Koji Uehara, and his sideburns, to the bullpen. Koji has been in two games so far and has yet to allow a run. His location has been perfect and his pitches have a lot of movement. Alfredo Simon has stepped up into the closers role nicely notching career saves one, two and three. Will Ohman continues to quietly dominate batters in his role. Ohman has yet to give up an earned run this season and has cemented himself as the late-mid-inning bridge to Koji and Alfredo.
Nick Markakis has been absolutely raking lately.Nick is hitting .333 with a .907 OPS in the last 25 games, Ty Wigginton continues to impress as he has notched 10 home runs in this young season, he only hit 11 all of last year. Guthrie earned his first win with a quality start against a feisty Twins team yesterday afternoon. Brad Bergesen pitched like his old self again earning a second win and the first Orioles shutout of the year. Matusz continues to be Matusz.
Problems still remain however. Adam Jones is still lost. The young center fielder has been scuffling at the plate since the second game of the year and still looks uncomfortable. He had a good day yesterday, going 3-6 with an RBI in the two games, and raised his paltry average to .250. It amazes me how many people I am reading that seem to be lining up to dig Jones' grave. Jones has the talent. He is not Corey Patterson; he is not Luis Matos. It is still very early and one good week can send Jones' average back to respectability. I agree that, ideally, Jones would take one or two days off and give Pie some at bats so he can work with the coaches a bit more and get his head together but injuries and ineffectiveness in the minors will not allow that to happen. Jones needs to work through it and he is a worker. I have heard nothing that leads me to believe that Jones isn't working his butt off to get things right.