Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Monday, June 6, 2016

Brady Anderson, 1994 Fleer Flair #251

Baseball has a nearly limitless ability to surprise. Would you ever have suspected that Brady Anderson's resume would someday include both a 50-homer season and a position as a trusted executive in the Orioles' front office? The O's have been a competitive team for the past five seasons, and for much of that time they have kept me guessing. After last year's frustrating 81-81, third-place finish, I wasn't brimming with optimism for 2016. I didn't figure on the team retaining Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, and Darren O'Day. Even after they did so, I didn't think it would be enough to boost them back to the top of the division. I didn't expect Mark Trumbo, acquired from Seattle in a salary dump, to be closing in on 20 home runs in the first week of June. When the Orioles stumbled in recent weeks, losing seven of nine games (including dropping the first two of a four-game series vs. Boston), I didn't foresee them bouncing back to win five of the next six and counting. They're doing it in quite unusual ways:

-Last Wednesday, they outlasted the Red Sox in a bizarre 13-9 slog. I was there, and stuck around as it took 3:58 to play eight and a half innings. The Sawx outhomered the Birds 5-0, and it didn't matter.

-Thursday the O's clobbered Boston again, 12-7, and this time blasted seven home runs, one of them by rookie catcher Francisco Pena, who was recalled from AAA Norfolk earlier in the series after Caleb Joseph hit the DL. Ubaldo Jimenez blew a 4-0 sixth-inning lead in the blink of an eye, but the Baltimore offense was up to the task.

-Over the weekend the Orioles took two of three from the Yankees, earning comeback wins against dominant relievers Dellin Betances on Friday and Aroldis Chapman on Sunday. Yesterday's game was especially remarkable, with Chapman blowing a save following a 97-minute rain delay in the eighth inning; Matt Wieters erased a 1-0 New York lead by turning an 0-2, 101-mph fastball into a single up the middle to un-load the bases. Even in Saturday night's 8-6 loss, the O's nearly wiped out a 7-0 deficit with six runs in the seventh before running out of gas.

-Tonight the string of weird W's continued with a 4-1 victory over the scuffling defending World Series champs from Kansas City. Mike Wright was so putrid in a 2.2-inning start last Wednesday that he was immediately sent down to Norfolk, only to return to Charm City when Darren O'Day landed on the DL. Given a second chance, he held the Royals to a single unearned run on five hits and two walks over seven innings to earn his first win since May 14. Scoreless through six innings, the Baltimore bats woke up for three home runs and four runs total in the seventh and eighth innings to salt the game away.

Sure, the Red Sox are probably still the favorites to take the East, but it's the Orioles who are in the lead after a bit more than one-third of the season. They've had at least a share of first place for 48 days this year, after enjoying the top spot for just 11 days in 2015. What's not to like?


Rob said...

That Wright start was insane. Maybe it rubs off on Ubaldo tonight...?

Kevin said...

Rob - Well...somehow scattering 9 hits and 3 walks and having enough batted-ball luck to only allow one run is about the best we can expect from U-bie.