Good evening O's fans. It was a good evening as the O's now get a four-day break that is well needed and deserved.
There is not much to talk about over the last two days at all. Hammel pitched well enough to win any other day on Saturday only surrendering three runs in six and two-thirds innings. The only bad thing was that Jered Weaver was his usual dominant self at home throwing eight innings of shutout baseball. He is 7-0 at home and 10-1 overall. He is dominant.
Sunday was much of the same. The O's offense was stopped by Brad Mills. He was called up to make the start for the injured Dan Haren. You would have thought it was Dan Haren as the O's could not hit this guy either. Mills went five innings and then the Angels bull pen took turns the last four innings shutting down the Orioles who were shutout again for the second time in as many days.
Everyone says how much this team needs pitching but I think the offense is in shambles as well. They are just not hitting at all. There is not one person in this line up right now that I would say is hitting well right now.
Adam Jones has been the most consistent hitter all year but he has dipped down to .289. I don't remember the last time he has been below .290 this year. The Orioles closed out the first half losing 13 of their last 19 games. They are missing Markakis badly.
With all of this being said, the Orioles are 45-40 and are in second place in the AL East and if the playoffs started today they would be the additional wild card team.
Rewind back to spring training. Did anyone think this would happen? Everyone said the Orioles would be dead last because there was no place lower to finish. This team has done some amazing things in the first half of the season considering the injuries they have had to deal with.
I don't think the O's have had their true starting line up since the end of April. Buck Showalter has done an amazing job shuffling the deck and filling in spots to put a line up out there every night. Not only has he dealt with injuries but three of his starting five pitchers from opening day are now in the minors.
To tell you the truth if you would have told me we would have an eight game and a seven game winner on our staff at the all star break I never would have believed it. Here is a bright spot for the second half. The Orioles only have a three game series with the Rangers in the second half and will not see the Angels anymore at all unless we make the playoffs. They lost eight-of-ten to those two teams combined.
Now, what do the O's do before the trade deadline? They are in desperate need for a top of the rotation guy. If they could get a Garza or Greinke and then follow with Hammel, Chen, Tillman, and Gonzales—I think that would be about as good a rotation as we have had in a long time but that remains to be seen.
I just do not want to give up too much for Greinke if we can not sign him to an extension. I would personally like to see the O's go after Garza and Soriano from the Cubs. I think that is a more realistic deal and could also help the O's for the next couple seasons. Soriano and Garza could return to the American League East.
Soriano is having his best season in a while and I think Garza would be energized to be back in the East and in the pennant race. It all depends on the price it costs the Orioles though. Are they willing to take on the salary of Soriano?
At this point I would take Soriano's contract over Brian Robert's 13 million next year. He is more of a question mark. They could get the insurance clause to cover most of his salary if they option not to bring him back due to health reasons. I am not exactly sure how that works.
Needless to say the Orioles need to make a decision of whether they are going to make a run at this thing this year or not. I would like to see them make a deal in early July to help them as fast as possible. I don't want them waiting to see if the current roster falls out of contention quickly and then suddenly become sellers.
I like the nucleus of this team. I like what we have down in the farm. I would like to see some additions with a trade, get Markakis back, and make a run at this thing. We have not had the opportunity to do that in a long time. I am having fun just talking about it.
I think Dan Duquette has some tough decisions in front of him but I think he really wants to help this team now. All we can do is wait and see. I am excited for the second half to get on the way. Let's Go O's!!!!!!!!!!!!