Thursday, April 12, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 5

Orioles victory number 5: 5-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays


2007 Upper Deck Chris Britton


The Orioles picked up their first win at home since Opening Day and didn't need extra innings to do so. That was nice. Kevin Gausman was the winning pitcher as he went 6 innings allowing 3 runs and striking out 7. It was his longest start of the season and lowered his ERA to 6.60 That might not be an impressive number, but considering it was at 13.50 after his first start, it's a good sign.

Honestly, the pitching really hasn't been the problem this season. While I'm not ready to throw this rotation out against the 1971 Baltimore rotation, they haven't been horrible. Dylan Bundy is on his way to becoming the first Cy Young finalist to not win a game in a season, Andrew Cashner has turned in a couple of decent starts and Gausman has improved. Now Chris Tillman and Mike Wright, Jr have been gas cans in their first couple of starts, but one of them should be booted to the bullpen once Alex Cobb makes his debut on Saturday.

If only they could get the offense rolling on a consistent basis. The team is near the bottom in average and on-base percentage and middle of the road when it comes to runs (but a top-5 team in home runs). They've been held to 2 or fewer runs in 6 of their 12 games, including just one run in each of he previous two games against Toronto.

Their bullpen, normally a strength of the team, hasn't exactly been lights out either having blown four save opportunities out of seven and walking a ton of hitters. Hopefully, with Cobb in the rotation the starters can begin pitching deeper into the games and lighten the workload for the bullpen.  Of course, that's something we hope for every year and have yet to see it happen.  But it's still April so we can still dream.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 4

Orioles Victory Number 4: 8-7 over the New York Yankees in 12 innings


2007 Topps Turkey Red Nick Markakis

When I left for work today I didn't think I'd have to write one of these after the game. As I turned off the T.V. and grabbed my heavy coat (serious snow flakes on April 9th? It's getting a bit out of hand) the Birds were down 5-1 and digging into a bullpen that had seen a lot of work over the last week.

Yet they chipped away and won, taking three out of four from the Yankees and showing signs of hope for the season. While not yet at the level of the 1989 Why Not? team, at least they've risen above the 1988 0-21 team.  It's nice to see the offense finding their footing a little bit, even if a lot of the offense was produced by Anthony Santander and Craig Gentry, not exactly the key cogs to the line-up.

Still, good teams have everyone chip in and while I'm not quite ready to label the Orioles as a good team, they at least are showing some heart.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 3

Orioles Victory Number 3: 7-3 over the New York Yankees in 14 innings



2018 Topps Gypsy Queen Kevin Gausman



Yeah, yeah I know. It's only three wins into the season and I already failed to post a victory card before the next game. What can I say, a 14-inning game coupled with a 5:30 a.m. alarm conspired to make this post a little late.  It didn't help that the O's followed their late night victory with a 1:00pm start on Saturday (checking that score to see if I have to do a double post.  Nope. we're good.)



While all due credit goes to Pedro Alvarez for the dramatic extra-inning grand slam, how about another decent start from the rotation. The above pictured Gausman pitched 5 innings, struck out 3 and only gave up 2 runs to lower his ERA to 8.00 on the season. The fact that Gausman kept the new Murder's Row in the ballpark was impressive after the home run fest he had during his last start.
 That's the third decent start turned in by the rotation and gives some hope that they aren't going to repeat the tire fire that they were last year.


More offense from Manny Machado has he hit two home runs (quiet down with the talk of him taking a shine to his soon-to-be-future-home-stadium) and the beleaguered Chris Davis mashed his first tater of the season.

Three wins on the season now for the Birds, including two over the rival Yankees. They did drop Saturday's game, but have the chance to take the series on Sunday as Mike Wright, Jr. is scheduled to make his second start of the season.

Friday, April 6, 2018

Orioles Victory Card Number 2

Victory Number 2 - 5-2 over the New York Yankees 




2018 Topps Gypsy Queen Chance Cisco


When you start a project like this there are two things you worry about. First, that you won't be able to keep up and will drift behind and eventually give up. Luckily, that hasn't happened yet. My goal of posting a card following every Orioles victory before they start the next game is still intact after two wins.

The second thing you fear is that you have some sort of cosmic control over the outcome of ballgames happening a few hundred miles away. That, in some way, by celebrating every win with a cardboard image you are jinxing the team despite the fact that you are 40-some-odd years old and know better than to believe in things like jinxes or curses.

Yet here we are, or more precisely, he we were a few days ago with the Orioles suffering their fourth straight loss and honestly not being remotely competitive in any of the losses. At that point I wondered if this exercise in cardboard creativity was having some adverse affect on their play. We all knew the pitching would be suspect at best, but at least they'd be able to hit, right? Not so much as first the Twins pitching and then the Astros pitching shut their bats off.

With the Yankees and their line-up looming for the next four games, the likelihood of a 1-9 start to the season was not out of the realm of possibility. I also began to ponder if a 21 game losing streak following an Opening Day victory was just as bad as a 21 game losing streak to start the season (hello team of my youth the 1988 Orioles). The answer I came up with was no, but not by much.

Luckily one of the three late Spring Training signings and first man to rock a beard in a Baltimore uniform under the Showalter administration, Andrew Cashner, pitched six strong innings and the bats woke up enough to propel the team to a 5-2 win over Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees.  So good for them. Cashner picks up the first win for an Orioles starting pitcher on the season (despite Dylan Bundy's best efforts) and Chris Davis is hitting a respectable (for him) .250 when he's not leading off.

So, good job Orioles.  Let's see if you can make it two in a row and send Yankee fans into an early season meltdown.