Saturday, July 27, 2019

Orioles Victory Card Number 34: Where they just keep winning

Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 34: 9-3 over the Los Angeles Angels

1991 Score Craig Worthington

I'm not going to lie, I'm going to have to start scanning another batch of cards pretty soon. My pre-scanned photos folder is starting to look a little bare. Who knew that Asher Wojciechowki was the answer to the rotation issues? For the second straight start he did a fantastic job of mixing his pitches and working ahead. He had a bit of a wobble in the fifth inning when he struggled with his control a bit, but other than that he was on target.

With Andrew Cashner in Boston, John Means on the IL, and Dylan Bundy possibly on his way out the door it was important that some of these mid-season pick-ups have a little success on the mound.I'm pretty sure that Brandon Hyde would be satisfied if Wojciechowski, Tom Eshelman, and Aaron Brooks made it to the fifth inning in each one of their starts, so back-to-back seven inning outings by Woj is just icing on the cake.

As the season wears on expect some of the prospects to slowly work their way into the mix as well. With Means on the IL it looks like Dillon Tate, acquired in the Zack Britton trade last year will get a shot at a start. It wouldn't be shocking to see Keegan Akin get a turn as well sometime in the next two months.

In the meantime the Os just keep finding ways to win. As opposed to Thursday night, the offense didn't wait to get going. Taking advantage of Nick Tropeano's inability to throw his offspeed stuff for strikes, a patient Baltimore offense tagged him for six runs in the second inning. The big blow was Renato Nunez's three-run home run, but the Orioles also scored thanks to some aggressive baserunning and Angels' miscues.

Jace Peterson singled with one out. He stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw. After a Chris Davis walk, Peterson broke on contact when Stevie Wilkerson grounded a ball to first base. Matt Thaiss had to hurry to make the play at the plate and couldn't get the ball out of his glove. Peterson scored without a throw.

It was his first stolen base of the season (he would add another in the third) and the team's fifty-second. While they're not quite the Runnin' Redbirds of St. Louis fame, it does mark a certain change in philosophy over some previous Orioles teams. Just two years ago they were dead last in stolen bases with a season total of 32. Right now they are 10th in the major leagues and their 78.64% success rate is fifth.  In two games against the Angels they have seven stolen bases (Jonathan Villar - 4, Peterson - 3).

I, for one, welcome a team that steals bases. It puts more pressure on the defense and helps to distract the pitcher when runners are on base. As long as they keep doing it successfully (anything above 75% is generally seen as beneficial) it makes them a tougher team to play against.

Since the all-star break the Orioles have been playing some pretty good baseball. They've been getting better pitching, Nunez and Trey Mancini are mashing, and they are taking advantage of other team's mistakes. They may not catch the Yankees, but at the rate they're going, they won't be picking first in the draft either.

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