Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 30: 11-2 over the Boston Red Sox
1997 Fleer Ultra Roberto Alomar/ Cal Ripken Double Trouble
On this Hall of Fame induction weekend, how about a card featuring two of the Orioles best? Roberto Alomar may have been in Baltimore for only three seasons, but he was most likely the best double play partner Ripken ever had (including his brother).
As for the team on the field now, what a nice win over the Red Sox. John Means bounced back from a bad start with six solid innings of work. Anthony Santander continued to prove that Rule V pickups belong in the majors and Richie Martin showed the potential that intrigued the Orioles over the winter.
Means shook off a second inning home run by Sam Travis to log another quality start. He only struck out one, but he limited the Red Sox offense to just four hits. He's still a few innings short of qualifying for the league leaders, but with Cashner in Boston (well technically Baltimore but in a Boston uniform) and Dylan Bundy nursing a sore knee, the rookie is now the undisputed ace for the the beleaguered Orioles pitching staff.
A rough first start post-all-star break led some to think he might regress a bit after a surprising first half, but Means got back to doing what had led to his first seven wins - pumped strikes and worked ahead in the count. That allowed him to keep the hitters off balance and off the scoreboard.
After going 0-for-20 Richie Martin now has a two-game hitting streak. His 2-for-4 against the Red Sox was his first multi-hit game since June 25th and showcased what he might be able to do in the future once he gets comfortable against major league pitching.
In the second inning, after the Red Sox climbed back into the game, Martin saw a fastball from David Price and laced it off the scoreboard in right field. JD Martinez misplayed the ball off the wall and then fumbled it some more. Martin never stopped running and easily scored. Even if Martinez had picked it up cleanly, Martin may still have been able to score standing up.
In his next at bat the shortstop laid down a perfect bunt and stole a base. He may not have scored, but he showed the skills that could cause havoc in the future. That's what the rest of this season is all about. It's not about contending, it's about figuring out which players are going to be part of the future. Everyone in the line-up has a chance to play for their future and some, like Santander, are taking advantage of the chance.
The Orioles won their 30th game of the season (half way to paying out my wager) and moved out of the major league cellar for the first time in a long time (Detroit is now behind them). With a ton of games against contenders they can settle into their role as a spoiler if they continue to put up efforts like they did on Friday night. They end the season against the Red Sox, a team chasing the Yankees and Rays in the AL East. That brings to memory 2011, aka Game 162. Could the Orioles spoil the Red Sox's post-season dreams once again?