The Orioles' lost a tough one yesterday that was made even more frustrating because they had a two-run lead against a pitcher who, year-in and year-out, is among the the best in the American League. There are guys who may be more dominating through stretches but taking into consideration all the important categories, Toronto's Roy Halladay is always at the top -- ERA, strikeouts-to-walks, innings pitched.
The Orioles can beef about the strike zone that Halladay was getting yesterday during the Blue Jays' 5-4 win but that third inning when the O's had guys at the corners and one out and Halladay got Aubrey Huff and Kevin Millar swinging was classic stuff from purely a baseball point of view.
So, the Orioles are .500 once again and we're reminded that not only do the O's play in a division with two of the biggest spenders in the majors -- the Yankees and Red Sox -- but now the division is the most competitive in baseball. What .500 gets you in the AL East these days is last place. In two other divisions, the Orioles would be in second place. In the NL West, they'd be 2 1/2 games out of first place. They have done well -- 4-2 -- so far on a road trip that could have been the undoing of their season after a disappointing finish to the last home-stand with one more stop in Boston. These guys have really been surprising.