Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Nick Markakis, 2008 Upper Deck Timeline #34

Last night Nick Markakis finally slew the foul alien replicant that had supplanted him in the Orioles lineup. At least that's the most reasonable explanation I can muster. Why else would the right fielder, who claims he's completely healthy and entered 2011 with a career .298/.368/.463 batting line and 4 straight 40-double seasons, be sitting on a line of .238/.298/.304 as action began last night? He had only four doubles all year, and no extra-base hits of any kind since homering against the Rays on May 15.

But last night, he nearly single-handedly drove the Baltimore offense. With the O's leading by a run in the bottom of the second, Luke Scott led off with a walk and Mark Reynolds doubled against Jeremy Hellickson, who didn't give up a run in either of his first two starts vs. the Birds this year. It looked like they were going to let him off the hook when Felix Pie lined out and Robert Andino was retired on an inexplicable bunt attempt. But J. J. Hardy coaxed a walk, and Markakis put a sudden and satisfying end to his drought by lining the first pitch he saw over the right field scoreboard for his third career grand slam. 5-0 Orioles.

The Birds' offense went dormant after that, so Nick decided to tack on some insurance in the eighth. Back-to-back two-out hits by Andino and Hardy set the stage, and Markakis knocked them in with a double to deep left-center. Not only did he have his first two extra-base hits in nearly a month, but he also set a new career best with six RBI in a game.

It might be premature to say that Nick is back, but he does have a couple singles tonight. Given his previous track record, I'm comfortable with giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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