The sign of a good baseball team is winning the games you should win. That’s why the Orioles’ three-game road trip to Miami in May was so disappointing.
The Marlins couldn’t buy a victory, had fired their manager and were ripe for the sweeping. And, instead, the Orioles lost two of three, managing just two runs in 22 innings over their final two games. At that moment, it was difficult to predict what we have now.
After the Orioles’ 6-4 victory Wednesday night in Philadelphia, the Orioles are 34-31 and have won 11 of 13. They’ve beaten up some bad teams recently, like the unsettled Boston Red Sox and now the absolutely-reeling Philadelphia Phillies, baseball’s worst club.
These are all major league teams. They all have talent. But when another squad is tumbling, the opposition has to take advantage. The Orioles have done that with three straight wins over the Phillies, who have lost nine in a row.
After the Orioles leave Philly, they have to play the Toronto Blue Jays for three games at the Rogers Centre, and that won’t be easy. But if they can sweep these two in Philadelphia, steal at least one from the Jays and two of three from the Red Sox at Fenway, that’s a solid road trip.
** The Orioles have moved to three games over .500 for the first time this season. That shouldn’t be a cause for celebration. But, remember, this team was six games under .500 on June 3. Given that context, three games over is a summer miracle.
** Don’t look now, but Ubaldo Jimenez has won five of his eight decisions this season (in 13 starts). Last year, he won six of 15 decisions in 25 games (22 starts). He has walked just 24 batters this season – none Wednesday night – and his 3.27 ERA is actually lower than the 3.30 mark he had in his free-agent walk year with the Cleveland Indians in 2013.
** Chris Parmelee’s three home runs in two days to start his Orioles career are impressive. Jimmy Paredes’ ridiculous start was eye-popping. But if you want my vote for most unexpected and clutch contribution to the Orioles so far this season, it’s reliever Chaz Roe. With two more key outs Wednesday, Roe has allowed just two runs in 16 innings (1.13 ERA) since his call-up.
He has struck out 17 batters and walked just four. And now, when he comes into a game, you expect him to pile up the outs. This from a guy who was seemingly on every road trip in spring training, a sure sign that he had little chance of making the club. But he made an impression. And now he has been too good to be designated for assignment, no matter the Orioles’ roster crunch.