Saturday, April 14, 2012

Encouraged in April

The Orioles are off to a solid 4-3 start. At the beginning of the year if you told me that the Orioles would have that record, I would take it and be happy. however, getting swept by the Yankees in heartbreaking fashion after sweeping the Twins definitely stung. The Orioles needed that win against Toronto in Toronto last night for a couple reasons. They needed to halt an early three-game skid; They needed to get off to a good start on the road and they needed to start turning things around in Rogers Centre a notorious house of horrors for the team.

The road has been particularly harsh for the Orioles. The Birds have not had a winning percentage over .400 on the road since 2007. Against Toronto the Orioles are 18-36 over the last three seasons, and that number is inflated by a 9-9 season in 2009.

Last night the Orioles came out on top of a slugfest. The Jays and O's combined for seven homers, all solos, but it was the Orioles that got the last big hit for a change to finish with a 7-5 victory.That alone is good to see.

There are other reasons to be encouraged about the team in the neonatal 2012 season. There are the obvious ones: The core bats of the team are off to a good start, particularly Adam Jones and Matt Wieters; Robert Andino is simply tearing the cover off the ball right now and he is playing a very solid second base; The pitching has been solid outside of Brian Matusz' shaky start against the Yankees and Jim Johnson seems to have shaken off his spring training cobwebs and has already locked down his first two saves of the year with little effort.

One more thing that the Orioles are doing right now that I don't think is getting enough attention. This one aspect of their game early on is something that bodes very well for the team going forward: They are being patient at the plate. So far the Orioles as a team are averaging 3.9 pitches per PA. For comparison the Yankees and the Red Sox last season had a P/PA ratio of 3.92 and 3.95 respectively. Against the Yankees the Orioles allowed Freddy Garcia to nearly lose the game all by himself and the made CC Sabathia throw over 100 pitches through six innings any pitcher other than CC would have been chased by the fourth or fifth inning.

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