The Orioles collectively attempted to move on from the Dexter Fowler fiasco on Friday, one day removed from being blind-sided by news that the veteran outfielder was remaining with the Chicago Cubs instead of joining the Orioles. Now, the club is left with more questions than answers.
Defense has been a key component to the Orioles' resurgence in the last three seasons, and on Tuesday they had three players selected as American League Gold Glove Award winners for the third straight year.
Even with the impressive comeback -- the Orioles sent 10 batters to the plate in the ninth -- the bottom line is that the Orioles (1-4) have still lost four straight and two consecutive series after an exhilarating Opening Day victory against the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox.
If you can remember all the way back to the Orioles' Kevin Millar era, you know that I enthusiastically supported the call from the clubhouse for the team's ownership to relax its highly restrictive facial hair policy. I also grew up in the 60s and 70s, so I generally take a libertarian approach to personal grooming.
If right-hander Chris Tillman is indeed the Orioles¿ ace, if he is indeed a bona fide top starter who can walk into any situation against any club and succeed, than he had the perfect opportunity to prove it Thursday night at Fenway Park.
Leading by two runs in the seventh, the Orioles bullpen allowed the Red Sox to tie it and then Tommy Hunter gave up a go-ahead bloop single to Mike Carp in the bottom of the eight as Boston rallied for a 4-3 win.
Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen had never thrown fewer than four innings or given up more than seven runs in any of his starts as a major leaguer. He picked a particularly inopportune time to do both.
When L.J. Hoes was called up to the Orioles last September, it was to learn. The Orioles were in the heat of the playoff race, and Hoes -- the team's 2012 minor league player of the year -- was on the periphery.
With a masterful, 6-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night that snapped a three-game losing streak for the Orioles, the 25-year-old Tillman (13-3) became the first Oriole since lefty Erik Bedard in 2007 to win at least 13 games in a season. He¿s the first to hit the mark in July since Sidney Ponson won No. 13 on July 10, 2003.
The Orioles head into free agency — which starts in earnest Saturday with free agents permitted to negotiate with all 30 teams for the first time this offseason — in a much different situation than this time last year. Executive vice president Dan Duquette is not only in place as club's decision-maker, but he seems to be established as a man with a plan.
Forget talk about the O's being on MLB channel Wednesday. The Orioles are on TBS in prime time, though the exact time could change from the scheduled 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., depending on whether or not a series ends today.
The Orioles' first-half statistics aren't pretty, but they hold one statistical trump card. The only one that really, truly matters right now: .529. That's the fifth best winning percentage in the American League.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said Wednesday that bolstering the club's starting pitching remains a priority, whether it comes internally or through a trade, but he also is actively searching for a "set-up hitter" with a history of getting on-base.