Again, the Baltimore Orioles continue to amaze. It is now August 22nd and they are still in the playoff hunt, plus they still hold the second wild card spot.
The amazing season continued as they won again, this time in Texas against the Rangers, 5-3. After a loss on Monday night, they bounced back yesterday as Chris Tillman’s (6-2) nice outing combined with the bullpen and a four-run fifth bolstered Baltimore to their 67th victory of the season. It was another close game and they pulled it out.
An RBI-double by J.J. Hardy along with a two-run homer by Nate McLouth (his forst of the year) in the fifth inning provided Baltimore with the offense they needed.
I’ve been impressed with McLouth. His career seemed to be over a few years ago, but he’s been quite a contributor for the Orioles and seems to do the little things right. I’m not sure if McLouth can ever return to his All-Star caliber status; however, the Orioles have gotten a lot from him in the past month or so.
Manny Machado had two hits – including an RBI-triple - for the Orioles after struggling at the plate in the past few games.
Tillman earned the win as he pitched 6 2/3 innings. It’s amazing how different his approach is now versus what it was in the past couple of seasons. Scott Feldman (6-9) took the loss for Texas.
You’ve got to give it up to the bullpen, as both Pedro Strop – who was facing his former team – and Jim Johnson came up big in their outings. Strop ended a huge threat in the eighth inning as he was able to strike out Josh Hamilton – who leads the league in homers and strikes – with two men on base and Baltimore leading 5-3.
If he gives up a homer, it’s a disaster for the Orioles. Johnson got his 38th save. His story is amazing in itself, considering the state of the team last year.
If the Orioles can win tonight, they will finish up a very tough road trip 4-2 and head into the next homestand against Toronto and Chicago (White Sox) in very good shape. They have to keep winning, obviously.
At this point, I’m growing more confident that Baltimore will make the playoffs and play Tampa Bay for the wild-card play-in game.
The Rays have been scorching hot and hold the other wild card spot in the American League.