Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Nick Markakis, 2010 Topps Peak Performance #PP94

Today's 6-4 win over the White Sox turned into a nail-biter late, but the O's pulled it out with a little help from home plate umpire Cory Blaser. After Kevin Gregg gave up a walk and a single to the first two batters in the ninth, the ump rang up Paul Konerko on a borderline third strike and then called out Alex Rios on a 3-2 pitch that was about a foot outside. Of course, Blaser's strike zone seemed to be all over the place for most of the game, but if I were a Chicago fan I'd be throwing things.

No matter how it happened, that's three straight wins and five out of six for the Orioles. At 13-13, they're back at .500 for the first time since April 15. This is also the latest point in the season that they've been even-up since 2008. I had to look it up; the Birds actually stayed around .500 for the entire first half of that season, not slipping below the mark for good until July 12. I had completely forgotten about that. It just goes to show you how all of these losing seasons run together after a while. Of course, the O's hit the skids down the stretch in '08, going 22-47 after that 46-46 start. In hindsight, it makes sense that I scrubbed it from memory.

The most encouraging moment from today's game was probably Nick Markakis' first-pitch bases-clearing double off of Gavin Floyd in the Orioles' five-run outburst in the fifth inning. It broke the game open, and hopefully it will be the big break that Nick needs. He's gotten off to a frustrating slow start, hitting just .206 with a pair of home runs and 9 RBI so far. As you might imagine, the gifted right fielder has been the victim of some bad luck. His batting average on balls in play, which is .324 for his career (generally, the average for most players is around .300), is hovering around .210 through the first month of play. It's about time for those balls to start dropping in front of (or behind) some opposing outfielders.

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