With a win this afternoon, the Orioles can move 9 games over .500 for the first time since July 18th of 2005. Anybody remember what was special about that week? Rafael Palmeiro got his 3,000th hit. Anybody remember what happened two weeks later? Palmeiro tested positive for steroids and the season (and franchise) floundered. But hey, let's hope that sort of bizarre twist of fate doesn't happen here.
The O's beat the Red Sox in 13 innings last night. It was a game they most likely end up losing in past years, but thanks to a much improved bullpen and pitching staff they were able to hold the Sox down and come away with a much needed victory. Anytime you can win at Fenway you take it and run with it. They now just need to win one of the next two game to assure themselves of back to back winning road trips.
The bullpen hasn't been the only resurgence of the club. Even without Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts, the team is playing well and winning. One of the biggest surprises has to be first basemen Chris Davis. Davis was acquired via trade last July in the Koji Uehara deal with the Texas Rangers. He came with a rep for hitting home runs and striking out. In fact, he struck out nearly 25% of his career at-bats. With a newfound confidence and a commitment by Buck Showalter to play him everyday, Davis has paid huge dividends. He's hitting .318 and has a .942 OPS (on-base plus slugging pct) with 5 home runs and 14 RBI's. He has also fanned at a much lower rate than in previous years.
With shrewd trades and better depth, the O's have been able to stay above ground for the past month. Whether they can keep it up and continue to play well has yet to be seen; but I can see this team playing very well into the summer. When you can pitch, hit home runs and play solid defense you will be in 95% of the games you play.
If they can continue to pitch well, who knows how good they can be when they get two of their best hitters back.