There was a debate in spring training as to who should be the Orioles cleanup hitter, since the lineup was devoid of a true power threat.
My answer, and the Orioles' eventual decision, was Miguel Tejada. Even though he doesn't hit many home runs, he drives the ball. And the veteran is clutch.
Tejada is batting a solid .288 on the season. But he is hitting an impressive .324 with runners in scoring position.
Friday night he did it again – basically helping to turn a squeaker into an Orioles' 8-1 win over the Cleveland Indians.
The Orioles had runners at second and third and one out in the sixth with Cleveland's Justin Masterson on the mound. Instead of bringing in a lefty to face Nick Markakis, Cleveland manager Manny Acta intentionally walked Markakis and loaded the bases for Tejada.
"I think (Acta) did the right thing because (Masterson) is really tough on righties and I think with one out he was probably looking for a double play," Tejada said. "I had to make an adjustment. I didn't look too good against (Masterson) the first two at-bats. I made an adjustment and it turned into a hit."
Tejada's two-run single up the middle ignited a four-run rally that gave the Orioles the victory. Orioles manager Dave Trembley said that hit was the reason Tejada bats cleanup. Tejada said he absolutely relishes those opportunities.
"I love it. I love that situation. When we have that situation, I want to be in there. I've been doing it for a long time and it takes a lot of concentration in a situation like that and I think I do that," Tejada said. "It doesn't (tick) me off, but in those situations I (am) more relaxed. With runners in scoring position I like to be relaxed and not try too hard. I think that's why I love it … I love seeing the people cheer when that situation comes."