It was the Josh Hamilton show in Charm City on Tuesday, you might have heard or seen, but first…
After an incredibly successful road trip, could the magic the Orioles have over the New York Yankees and Red Sox faded?
The Orioles – especially after their crazy weekend in a sweep over the Red Sox – have gained the attention of the baseball world and long-awaited press – both in print, online and on TV.
Well, we do not know for sure; however, everyone knew that the Texas Rangers would be a tough customer, and so far they have been. After solid pitching so far this season, the Orioles have gotten hammered by the bats of the Rangers, as they have given up twenty-four runs (!) in two games.
For the second time in as many nights, the Orioles lost to the Texas Rangers, by a score of 10-3.
The Rangers – unlike the Red Sox and Yankees – have a seemingly far more complete squad and perhaps may have been the best challenge the Orioles have had this young season.
Slugger Josh Hamilton made sure of that. Obviously, he is one of the best hitters in the game today; however, he was nothing short of remarkable on Tuesday.
He would hit four homers on the night off Baltimore pitching and drove in seven of Texas’ runs. His feat – hitting four homers – was only the 16th time in all of baseball history that has been done.
The Rangers came out swinging early, and they had built a 5-0 lead by the end of the third inning, as they teed off on Oriole starting pitcher Jake Arrieta.
Hamilton homered in each of his first two at-bats, and Adrian Beltre homered in the third inning. Yes, Arrieta did settle down after that; however, the damage was pretty much already done. He went 6 1/3 innings on the night and allowed six runs.
Back to Hamilton – what can you say? After times of trouble in the offseason, and seeing talks stall on a new deal, he is off to an amazing start.
Whether Hamilton is healthy, or inspired by a chance to earn a bigger pay day, he’s killing it this season and is definitely one of the top three players in the game at plate right now.
On Tuesday night, Hamilton seemed to be hitting the ball at will. He treated Arrieta as if he was pitching batting practice. In the seventh inning, he hit a three-run shot off a reliever Zach Phillips. It was quite amazing to see that.
Former reliever-turned-starter Neftali Feliz stymied Baltimore, as he went six innings, struck out eight and allowed four hits. He was bringing it all night with a fastball in the mid-to-upper 90’s and stymied the Orioles for much of Tuesday night.
The Orioles got their first run off of Felix in the sixth inning as Nick Markakis plated in Endy Chavez – who reached on a double. Other than that, they didn’t have much else offensively on the night until very late in the contest.
If there was a positive, J.J. Hardy hit his 7th homer in the eighth inning, and Nick Markakis had hit three hits, plus a homer – his fourth. In addition, Chris Davis had his first hit in a while, with a single in the eighth inning. Robert Andino chipped in with two hits.
Yes, the Orioles do look remarkably much improved and are not the same team we’ve watched over the past few years.
In fact, Baltimore shares many of the same similarities that Texas had to endure in their climb to the top of the American League; however, the Orioles based on what I’ve seen the past two games still have some work and growing up to do.
The Orioles are starting to get to the level of the Rangers. It will just take some time, development, and some luck.
It was supposed to rain in Baltimore – and much of the region – on Tuesday night, but I did not see much take place. Only 11,263 bought tickets to tonight’s game, and considering how well the Orioles have played, I expected a larger turnout.
Then again, it takes a lot more than a month-plus of outstanding baseball to erase 14 years of inadequate.