The Orioles walked-off with back-to-back extra-inning wins against the Philadelphia Phillies before sell-out, mostly Phillies, crowds.
Yesterday beleaguered Orioles starter Tommy hunter came through with a workman-like seven inning no-decision before Adam Jones silenced the legion of Phillies fans with a two-run homer in the bottom of the twelfth. Today, Jason Hammel overcame a near disastrous second inning to go six solid, giving up four and allowing the Orioles to tie the game up. Matt Wieters sent the Orioles fans into a fury with a RBI double in the bottom of the tenth. The Orioles take the series, return to a more comfortable eight games over .500 and keep pace in the AL East remaining a game behind the Rays and half a game behind the Yankees.
The AL East seems to be shaking out a little the past week. The Orioles, Yankees and Rays are bunched at the top of the division separated by one game with the Jays and Red Sox losing ground as they continue underwhelming Springs.Meanwhile the Orioles seem to have shaken off the rough patch and six-game losing streak winning five of their last eight and each of their last two series. Three of the five wins have come in extra-innings and the Orioles are getting used to these contests. The Birds are 34-26 on the year but when you total up the innings the team has actually played in THREE FULL EXTRA GAMES, plus an inning, in that span of 50 games.
One begins to wonder what toll that number of extra games has been taking on the team and if that had any hand in the recent spotty play of many key players. The schedule in May certainly did not help matters. Thankfully this month the Orioles get many off days to hopefully recover from the overtime they have been putting on the clock.
Tuesday brings another huge day in the story of the 2012 Baltimore Orioles. Reports are state that it is extremely likely that Brian Roberts will be activated and start for the Orioles against the Pirates. Roberts has not played in a game since May 16th of 2011. Roberts has spent the interm recovering from extreme post-concussion syndrome symptoms and many people that follow the Orioles, myself included, thought Roberts was done. I genuinely did not think that I would ever see Roberts suit up for the Orioles again so Tuesday night will prove to be a very special night for me and all Orioles fans.
Statistically Brain Roberts is one of the best second basemen the Baltimore Orioles has ever had. No Oriole has ever played more games at second base. He is fourth all-time (modern-era) in doubles; among players that spent their entire careers with the Orioles he is behind only Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr. He is third all-time in stolen-bases and one of only three Orioles since 1922 to have a 50 steal season. Roberts is one of only four players in the history of baseball to record three 50 double seasons. He is easily an Orioles HOF’er and if somehow Roberts gets some kind of ring before he retires he could be one of those fringy Hall Of Fame guys that gets debated about in sports bars for the next two decades.
I have no idea how Roberts will do this season. I am concerned with how he will react after the first hard dive in the field, or the first ball that whizzes by his eyes. If Roberts come back and can’t produce at a reliable level a very tough decision will have to be made by Buck Showalter, Dan Duquette and Roberts himself. Still, that is a worry for another day. The Orioles are playing competitive ball, a game outside of first and are showing no signs of going down without a fight. Roberts, could be a part of something that would be nothing short of miraculous for not only himself but this team and franchise as a whole.
Enjoy the offday tomorrow, because the next chapter of the 2012 Orioles begins Tuesday.