According to all-birds.com, the Oriole is a sign of spring. So it’s no wonder it felt like Mother Nature skipped over spring the last thirteen years, the Orioles have been nowhere to be found.
However, it’s just six games into the 2011 season and the Orioles seem to have everything clicking for them. The offense exploded for nine runs in yesterday’s rubber match, giving the O’s a 5-1 record on the year. Spring has finally arrived after years on hiatus.
The Orioles took the three-game series against the AL Central favorite Tigers, two games to one. Brian Roberts was the hero again in game one, smoking a three-run homer off Rick Porcello in the 5th inning, breaking a 1-1 tie. Brian Roberts has to be the MVP of the first week of the season.
This was the home opener in Baltimore and the team didn’t disappoint the 46,593 in attendance. Jake Arrieta got the start on the mound, dealing six strong innings to capture the win. Jason Berken threw his second strong outing of the year, fanning three batters in his two innings of relief.
In game two, the Tigers played a little home run derby. With Brad Bergesen getting the start in place of the sickly Jeremy Guthrie, Los Tigres came out swinging. Alex Avila did most of the damage, cracking a 2-run double off the wall in the 2nd and a 2-run homer over that same wall in the 4th. Josh Rupe replaced Bergesen and promptly allowed back-to-back homers to Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the 5th inning.
Offensively, the Orioles were stifled by the right arm of Justin Verlander. Verlander struck out nine Orioles in his eight innings and allowed only six base runners. Any doubt about who was in charge of this game was erased when the Old Dominion product struck out the side in the bottom of the 7th.
Game three went back and forth until Baltimore tallied five runs in the 7th inning to pull away for good. The whole team seemed to be involved in the rally, as they used four base hits, three bases on balls, and a sac fly to take the lead. The big hit came from Mark Reynolds, who laced a line drive double down the leftfield line to drive in two.
Chris Tillman had a so-so outing, failing to get out of the 5th inning while allowing four runs on six hits. The big pitching lift came from Jim Johnson, who threw 1 2/3 innings of scoreless ball to hold the Tigers long enough for the O’s to take the lead for good.
Game One Notes
-Jake Arrieta struck out Austin Jackson to begin the home opener.
-Nick Markakis had three hits.
-Derrek Lee stole his first base as an Oriole. If Lee is healthy enough to swipe some bases, something he hasn’t really done since 2005, this gives Buck another weapon.
Game Two Notes
-Derrek Lee hit his first home run as an Oriole, an opposite field shot.
-The only potential Orioles rally was killed when Vladimir Guerrero was thrown out at second base while trying to advance on an errant throw after his RBI single in the 6th inning. Guerrero was erroneously called out by umpire Jim Wolf, ending the inning.
Game Three Notes
-Guerrero hit his first home run as an Oriole.
-In the 2nd inning, Adam Jones had a bunt base hit, stole second, and scored on a Mark Reynolds single.
-Jones and Markakis combined for a juggling catch against the wall in right-center field in the 4th inning. Jones bobbled the fly ball, crashed into the fence, and Markakis caught the rebound for the out. The only problem was the ball also touched the outfield wall, and should have been ruled in play. Give Markakis credit for a good job of selling the catch.
-Alex Avila hit his second homer in as many games, giving him 6 RBI in that span.
-Jones homered and finished the game with 3 RBI and 2 R.
-Koji Uehara finished his second game of the series, holding a four-run lead each time.
About the Author
Written by Sven Jenkins
My name is Sven Jenkins, and I’m an independent baseball analyst from Poughkeepsie, NY. I own 60ft6in.com and do freelance work for STATS Inc. In the past, I've done research for the St. Louis Cardinals and worked one season with Baseball Info Solutions in 2007. I have also spent many nights as an official scorer in the minor leagues and played NCAA D-III baseball at SUNY New Paltz. In the off-season I travel the world, having enjoyed over 1,100 days on the road through 40 different countries. You can email me at: jenkins AT 60ft6in DOT com.