Sunday, May 1, 2011

Orioles Finish Off Month of April With Win; Impact of Andino and Gonzo

The Baltimore Orioles finished the month of April on a high note as they beat up on the sinking Chicago White Sox, 6-2sinking Chicago White Sox, 6-2, on Saturday night.

It’s amazing what opportunities can come when you least expect it. Robert Andino – who was supposed to be a third-string backup in the infield to start the season – has made the most of the playing time he’s gotten due to J.J. Hardy’s injury. It’s nice to see a guy who has obvious talent, finally start to put it together.

Considering Andino was put on waivers before the season and not ever a single team claimed wanted him, it’s good to finally see him breaking out. I could imagine too he must have a huge chip on his shoulder, and it’s clearly evident now that he is playing with some major swagger.

The Orioles reacquired him and he made the Opening Day roster. Since then, he’s become a major factor for the offense at the bottom of the lineup. His impact so far cannot be understated. Oriole manager Buck Showalter has given the man a chance to play and he’s delivered over the past month, time and time again.

Andino has been huge at the plate – and on the field. Yesterday, he delivered big-time going 2-for-4 with a solo homer and he also scored twice.

Reliever Mike Gonzalez stepped up – albeit, for one day – and came up big for the Orioles in his two inning outing. A lot of ink has been spent on the reliever due to his struggles and he has been pillared online, plus at Camden Yards.

For a while, he was not being used in the bullpen; however, much like with Andino, Showalter finally gave him a chance and he sparkled. Gonzalez pitched two scoreless frames, struck out four and didn’t walk anyone.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Gonzalez has gone back to his old, herky-jerky, bouncy motion and it worked for him on Saturday. I’m sure he has been beating himself up after his struggles for the better part of two seasons and let’s all hope that this builds up his confidence.

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