Sunday, August 5, 2012

Orioles 2012: Bottom of the 6th

It's been another strong nine-game stretch for Baltimore.  They've gone 5-4, all against contenders: A's, Yankees and Rays.  They also survived the trade deadline without doing anything rash.  Time to introduce a few new characters...

Image via Wikipedia

The Orioles acquired Omar Quintanilla in a cash-only trade with the Mets on July 20th as part of the ongoing struggle to maintain a healthy infield.  He's done so well filling in at second base, hitting .333/.370/.476 since becoming an Oriole, that Robert Andino was moved to a platoon at third upon his return from the DL.  Quintanilla was part of a powerhouse team at the University of Texas, making the national title game twice and winning it in 2002.

Image via Wikipedia

Left fielder Lew Ford was called up on July 29th to make his first major league appearance since 2007.  In the intervening years, he made season-long stops in both Japan and Mexico along with various minor league adventures.  He once burned himself with a hotel iron.  A rumor got around that he was ironing the shirt he was currently wearing - apparently untrue.  There have been some bright spots along the way.  He was AL Player of the Week for the week ending August 21, 2005 while playing for the Twins.

Image via The Baltimore Sun

Nate McLouth was called up just yesterday to play left against the Rays.  He had a great game, going 2-for-4 with a double.  His big year was 2008 with the Pirates when he was an All-Star and a Gold Glove winner.  In the years since, with a stint in Atlanta before returning to Pittsburgh, he has struggled at the plate.  The O's signed him to a minor league deal in June.

The season is 2/3 finished.  Amazingly, Baltimore is still just a game out of the last wild card spot.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up about the playoffs.  A winning season finally feels like a realistic expectation.  With another year of seasoning and a few savvy off-season moves, the team is likely to be better in 2013.  At least to this point, 2012 has felt like a very big step forward.

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