Two series down, two series victories and 1 game short of back-to-back sweeps to begin the season. It’s been an impressive start to the 2017 season for the Baltimore Orioles, a lot of good and some bad. Time to take a look back at the weekend series against the New York Yankees and see what went right and what went wrong.
GOOD: Comeback birds
In both wins for the Orioles in this series they had to come back. In game 1 on Friday night it was a 5-1 deficit, and in game 2 it was 4-1. Manny Machado got things going on Friday night with his first home run of 2017 then new Oriole Seth Smith gave the O’s the lead they would never relinquish. In game 2 Machado again began the comeback in the 5th inning and the O’s would win 5-4. If nothing else this looks like the same Orioles who won’t give up, no matter the score.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) April 8, 2017
BAD: Starting pitching
I think it’s safe to say that the main point of concern for the Orioles heading into 2017 was their starting pitching. Well, against the Yankees, it was definitely a weak point.
Ubaldo Jimenez – 4.1 IP, 7 hits, 5 ER, 5 strikeouts
Kevin Gausman – 4.2 IP, 8 hits, 4 ER, 4 strikeouts
Don’t let Wade Miley’s line fool you. He only lasted 5 innings because he had 100 pitches and SEVEN walks. The Orioles have to get better outings from their starting pitchers. The bullpen may be the club’s strength but if they are pitching 4-5 innings a game they will wear out quick.
GOOD: Zach Britton
Zach Britton was able to save both wins for the Orioles and in doing so was starting to look like his dominant self of 2016. Britton pitched in both games of the opening series against Toronto but struggled despite not giving up any runs. He even loaded the bases in game 2 before getting a game clinching double play. Against the Yankees he was much better. Friday night he retired the Yanks 1-2-3 while only throwing 9 pitches. Saturday he had a scare with a long fly ball, but again was incredibly efficient facing 4 batters and needing only 11 pitches.
BAD: J.J. Hardy’s rough start at the plate
This probably pains more than most of you think. I’ve always been a huge fan of JJ Hardy ever since he’s been an Oriole, but I have to call them like I see them. Hardy has been struggling hard at the plate this season. Against the Yankees he went 2 for 9 with 4 strikeouts and only 1 RBI. His season batting average is only .125 after 5 games. Lucky for Hardy he still plays gold glove caliber defense. Unfortunately the injuries and his age might be too much for him to be the player he was from 2011-2013.
Other notes from the Yankees series. Seth Smith had a good two games going a combined 4-9 and hitting the game winning HR on Friday night. Also what happened to the Orioles pitching in general on Sunday? O’s pitchers walked 11 Yankees on Sunday with Wade Miley and surprisingly Darren O’Day being the biggest culprits.
All in all it was a good weekend series for the Orioles. They have played 5 games in 2017 and are 4-1, all against AL East teams. Up next for the birds is another AL East opponent, a favorite of many pundits to win the AL East, the Boston Red Sox. It will be another short 2 game series before they head north of the border to face Toronto again.
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