Despite Baltimore’s record, all things considered, they have been playing well the last week or so. Their solid play continued in Chicago as they took two out of three from the White Sox this weekend, as Jeremy Guthrie found his groove on Saturday, and Jason Berken showed signs of learning on the big league level as he won his third game of the season.
With Aubrey Huff being traded last week, one wondered who’d step in and take up the slack; however, Brian Roberts has taken torch as he’s been a doubles machine, and has supplied much of the team’s offense. In addition, Nick Markakis has started to pick up the slack, and after a dip in his numbers, Nolan Reimold is starting hit the ball well again and contributed to Sunday’s win with his 12th homer of the year.
Furthermore, Felix Pie – the one guy who everyone wanted off the team – has finally gained some comfort as an Oriole as his playing time has increased; therefore, he’s responded. He had a homer on Sunday, and has been able to get timely hits when needed to help out the squad. After barely hitting his weight for much of the year, he’s upped his batting average to .259 and has shown flashes of the player he was in the Chicago Cubs minor league system.
Right now, in my mind, the big picture should be on the development of the pitching – which has improved somewhat since the All-Star break – and looking to add pieces for next year. Kam Mickolo – at least when I have been able to watch him briefly on MASN – has done remarkably well in his latest tour in Baltimore and may now be here to stay with Sherill traded and with Johnson serving as the current closer.
At this point, I’d like to see a veteran arm in the fold – not a Trachsel-like pitcher in the twilight of his career – but a solid major league veteran who show the kids how to win and prepare for the game. As much I respect Guthrie, I’d want someone with a track record and been on a winner.
Not that the Orioles need a John Lackey, or a C.C. Sabathia/Roy Halladay clone (as Nice as it would be), they just need someone who they can emulate and see how they prepare for game.