Carroll County Times

Orioles Analysis: Top 5 moments of the first half

The All-Star break serves as a pause for baseball's regular season, a time to look back at the first half and figure out whether your team is a contender or a pretender.
Baltimore Orioles fans seem to see it both ways, with a good bit of baseball still to be played. So let's look back, for a few moments, and break down the Orioles' top five moments of the first half:

5. Manny Machado's play in New York
They've been showing this one on the video board at Camden Yards for a week now, and almost every time the image of Machado's backhanded stop and whirling throw to nail Luis Cruz at first from foul ground beyond third base is shown, the fans rise to their feet and applaud.
In a season of standout plays from Baltimore's third baseman, this one ranks as his best. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter, when asked about the play last Monday, begged to differ.
"I hope it's yet to come," Showalter said. "I hope it's the one where he catches the last out in the World Series."


4. The Orioles sweep the Yankees at home
New York came to town for a three-game series June 28-30, and the Yankees left with three losses in a row. The Orioles won 4-3 on Friday, 11-3 on Saturday, and 4-2 on Sunday, and the average attendance was 42,508 for the series.
Baltimore played in front of a national TV audience twice during the weekend (Fox on Saturday, ESPN on Sunday).

3. Chris Dickerson's walk-off HR beats Detroit
The Tigers were in cruise control with ace Max Scherzer mowing down Baltimore bats on May 31. Scherzer went eight innings and struck out 10, and he left with a 5-3 lead. But the Orioles took advantage of a shaky Jose Valverde and scored four in the ninth to win 7-5.
The heroics came from Chris Dickerson, a walk-off, three-run homer to right.
"I knew it right away," Dickerson said after the game. "It was awesome."


2. Four Orioles selected for All-Star Game
Baltimore is no longer one of those teams, the one that gets the obligatory single All-Star within the rules of Major League Baseball. And this season, the Orioles are sending four players to the Midsummer Classic.
Three of them are starters - first baseman Chris Davis, shortstop J.J. Hardy, and outfielder Adam Jones. Machado is joining his teammates as an All-Star reserve.
The Orioles haven't had a starter in the All-Star Game since 2005, which is also the last time they had four players on the AL squad.

1. Chris Davis' grand slam in Baltimore's home opener
Davis officially received the adoration of Orioles Nation back on April 5, when Baltimore hosted Minnesota in the first home game of the season. Davis hit home runs in each of his first three games, all in Tampa Bay, but his fourth in a row was a doozy.
Davis smacked an opposite-field grand slam to left in the eighth inning, which broke a 5-5 tie and lifted the Orioles to a 9-5 win. After that game, Davis was 9 for 15 with four homers and 16 RBIs.
"I don't feel like I have anything magical," Davis said afte the game. "I feel comfortable and I feel like I'm being patient. I'm taking what they give me."