On the six-year anniversary of Adam Jones' contract extension that kept him off the free-agent market and in Baltimore through his prime, he and the club reflect on what made the last such deal they signed worthwhile and why others haven't had the same opportunity.
Heading into Wednesday night, Orioles lefty Wei-Yin Chen had been dominant in his career against the Texas Rangers, a club that had blasted eight homers and scored 16 runs in their previous two games at Camden Yards this week. Something had to give, and fortunately for the Orioles, it was Chen¿s mastery that continued in a 4-2 win Wednesday night before an announced 23,019.
The Texas Rangers are not the homer-happy club that they were during their glory years a few seasons ago, ranking fifth of 15 American League teams this year. But something about Camden Yards brings out that Texas power. On Tuesday the Rangers hit four homers for a second consecutive night to beat the Orioles, 8-6, before an announced 27,370. It was the seventh time since 2005 that the Rangers have homered at least four times in a game in Baltimore.
They followed that up with a 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers without hitting one longball -- the Orioles first homerless victory since April 26 to secure a four-game sweep at Camden Yards for the first time since 2008.
With his teammates killing time inside the clubhouse during a one-hour, 38-minute rain delay on Wednesday night, Orioles closer Zach Britton remained in the Orioles bullpen waiting out the weather for his opportunity to close out a 6-4 win over the Rangers.
The Orioles led the major leagues with 46 home runs in June, and they continued their power surge into July. They hit three homers, including Nelson Cruz's 26th of the season on his 34th birthday, in an 8-3 victory over the struggling Texas Rangers on Tuesday night in front of an announced 19,150.
Catcher Matt Wieters is up for his second consecutive American League Gold Glove Award, center fielder Adam Jones will be going for the second (2009) of his career and shortstop J.J. Hardy is seeking his first.
The Orioles have been exceptionally cautious with top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy in his first professional year, keeping him in the South Atlantic League when he obviously was too advanced for the level and not allowing him to throw more than five innings now that he is with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League.
It has been a busy weekend already, but the Orioles made a couple more roster moves on Sunday morning, optioning outfielder Xavier Avery to Triple-A Norfolk to finish making room for the arrival of newly acquired DH Jim Thome and the recall of reliever Miguel Gonzalez. The O's already had optioned pitcher Tommy Hunter to Norfolk on Saturday night.
For the fifth straight game, an Orioles starter turned in a less-than-stellar performance, this time from lefty Dana Eveland, who was making his first start since May 11, adding to the Orioles' troubles on the mound.
An untimely combination has hit the Orioles at the wrong time. The club's offensive struggles have become just the beginning of the issues facing the Orioles. Now, the team's starting pitching has become unglued.