Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Orioles are winning. Can it last?

My initial reaction to the Orioles sweep of Philadelphia on the road this weekend and winning 7 out of 8 games against the Braves, Mets and Phillies is that it will not continue. After all, they're the Orioles. They haven't finished over .500 since 1997 and usually have an epic collapse in the 2nd half of the season. That doesn't mean that this season could not be different. After all, who expected the Rockies, Tigers, Rays or Brewers to make the playoffs a few years ago?

The best news for the Orioles is that their pitching has been much better recently than it was earlier in the season. Their team ERA has been 4.05 over the last month, as compared to 5.05 for the year. Their bullpen has been very good, with Jim Johnson, George Sherrill and Brian Bass all pitching very well for the last month.

The offense? They have some really good young hitters: Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Luke Scott. Matt Wieters is unproven, but has the potential to be a great player. They even addressed one of their other main problems this weekend by winning on the road: 8-20 before they played Philadelphia over the weekend. They swept the defending champs, including 2 1-run victories. They have some big tests coming up soon: Boston, Angels, Toronto. Can they reach .500? They also seem to be more resilient than in the past. The impressive sweep of the Phillies this weekend is a good step towards .500, and that's a lot for the Orioles.

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