At the quarter pole mark of the baseball season, the Orioles (26-14) are the second best team in baseball record-wise. If they were in any of the other 5 divisions in MLB they would be in first place.
However, the Al East Division, which is the only one where all of the teams have a winning record, the O’s are 4 games behind Division leader Tampa Bay. Tampa tied the MLB record for best starts of the season when they went 13-0 out of the gate. They have cooled down some going 18-11 since that great start, but that is still a .620 win per cent with an overall current record of 31-11.
For Nationals’ fans it has been a little bit of a pleasant surprise because they have won some games, been competitive and at 17-23 may not be the 100 loss team most folks predicted they would be. (Boswell recently had a good column on the Nationals and how bright their future looks (click here.))
Orioles pitching, particularly their bull pen, has been solid even with some really bad outings here and there from their starters. The old saying that you can never have enough good pitching rings true for the O’s who are currently 15th in all of MLB pitching rankings (click here.) The bad news for them is that the pitching of their Divisional opponents the Rays (1), Blue Jays (12) and the Yankees (13) all rank ahead of them. (Boston at 27th explains why they are 22-19 and last in the AL East.)
However, the good news for the Orioles is that it is looking like their former ace John Means should be coming back in time for their stretch run the second half of the season. He is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and the hope is that he will join the O’s in the July timeframe (click here.)
Puzzle time for you. Even though this is a baseball-oriented note, to get you to start thinking about Saturday’s upcoming Preakness Race and party at Buzzy’s Country Store, I have cited three horse racing terms in the above discussion. Find all three and you win the trifecta. (So make that four racing references.)
But let me finish where I started and that’s with the O’s. This past Saturday I had a couple young guys and their Mom in the Store wearing their O’s shirts. Naturally we discussed Cedric Mullins’ hitting for the cycle in Friday night’s game. As we did so, I noted how good it was to be talking and excited about the Orioles again. Felt like an old friend I haven’t seen in awhile had returned.
Carly knows what that’s like as she sings about “if you’re willing to play the game, it will be coming around again.” (Having said that, it did make me a little sad to see all those family clips of her with her two older sisters both of whom died a day apart last October (click here.))