Well that was fun.

Of course, I’m talking about the past five game home stand where your Baltimore Orioles not only kept the “MASN Cup” in the Charm City (3rd straight year), but took 2-out-of-3 from a potential World Series participant in the Detroit Tigers. However, it wasn’t just the wins, but how this team is doing it that is giving me the “Oriole Magic” vibe as I put this to words.

Credit: AP Photo/Gail Burton
Credit: AP Photo/Gail Burton
If you can/want to, please rewind your “Orangekoolaid” soaked brain back just eight days to last Sunday in Toronto. That’s where Jim Johnson kicked all of O’s Nation in the no-no spot blowing a 3-run lead in the 9th. Many guys in the clubhouse (off the record) actually said that one was tough to get over. But get over it was what this resilient bunch of ballers did.

First, on Memorial Day in the Nations Capital, Jason Hammel threw a solid, not spectacular, eight innings to help the Birds win the first of four in the annual MASN Cup series.

Then after dropping the second game, the series moved to the friendly confines of the Yards where the Chris Davis party continued in Wednesday night’s game (one of the best of the year to date) and finished up with “Sweaty” Freddy Garcia turning back the clock to 2005 in a masterful performance to clinch the series win. I have no hate for the artists formerly known as the Expos, but beating down that World Series favorite didn’t break my heart.

But it was this past weekend’s series win over  – if not the best pretty damn close – Detroit Tigers team that was the most impressive of the season (IMO).

Especially when you consider the arms they were facing. I still have no idea why that chain-smoking Jim Leyland pulled Max Scherzer Friday night as he was dominating the Birds thru eight innings (retiring the last 16 he faced). But he did and “Papa Grande” himself, Jose Valverde, gave Jim Johnson one back as the never-say die Birds dropped a four spot on the Tigers, culminated by Chris Dickerson‘s first ever walk off home run at any level he’s played.

Saturday was as ugly Amanda Bynes’ haircut as the Tigers flexed their muscles and pounded four HR’s in the fourth inning, including three-straight and a grand slam by the all-planet Miguel Cabrera.

But if you were to tell me before the three-game series that the O’s would have a chance to win the rubber match on Sunday with rookie Kevin Gausman making his home debut versus a mediocre starter in Rick Porcello, I would’ve shoved my chips to the center. I’m not sure if that’s an indictment of how good I think this team is after losses or the confidence I had in Gausman, but let’s just say I might have put my money where my mouth was.

And it didn’t start out great as the Prince of MoTown, Prince Fielder,turned a 97-MPH heater into a souvenir just a mere two rows from where my boy Jackson and I were sitting in section 98.

That didn’t seem to faze the rookie out of LSU one bit.

All he did was keep the Orioles in the game throwing 6.0 innings, giving up 5 hits and 1 ER while striking out 4 while not walking anyone. By far his best performance of his three starts and I actually thought he got better as the game wore on. His last pitch was a 97-MPH K looking on the black to the best hitter on the planet this side of Crush Davis, of course. This kid isn’t going anywhere, my friends. He is here to stay, in my opinion.

And who better to kick start the O’s offense in the bottom of the 7th than the aforementioned Davis who crushed the first pitch from Porcello deep into the bleachers. This not only lit a fire under the team, but it energized a crowd that was sitting on their warm Natty Boh’s for seven innings.

A couple clutch AB’s from guys like Danny Valencia (needs to play more) and Nate McLouth and next thing my boy and I know is Jim Johnson is coming on to secure the 4-2 win and send the Birds on a happy charter flight to Houston.

Listen, I know it’s only June but this team isn’t going anywhere. I say that because I know there are people outside the 410 area code who are waiting for the cleat to fall off Oriolrella (grasping here, cut me a break). I understand the starting rotation just might be the worst in the AL East. Maybe the bullpen isn’t as good as last year. Of course, I understand half the lineup isn’t going to hit over .300 all year. I get it.

But all I know is what my eyes are telling me. And what I see is a more complete version of last year’s “magical” team that just might be a trade-deadline starter from playing much deeper into October.

James Shields anyone?

Jabby Burns is a diehard #OrangeKoolAid drinker and contributor to BaltimoreSportsReport.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JabbyBurns and check out his website JabbyBurns.com.

About The Author

Known to his family as Josh Angulo-Bartlett, “Jabby Burns” has been in the Charm City via the sunny beaches of San Diego since 2000. He’s worked for the Baltimore Orioles and created his own blog (Jabbyburns.com) in addition to hosting radio shows on ESPN 1300 (Chalk Talk) and the Internet based BT Sports Radio. Jabby is regular contributor to BSR, and co-host of the BSR Podcast.


  1. Something MAGIC happens every time you go…that’s because you are getting decent productivity from every position in the line up, exceptions being second base. I say that we go back to our favorite trading partner Texas (Hunter and Davis for Koji style) and try to get Profar, their young second sacker. As far as Shields, I think we are more in the Bud Norris market, but I’d certainly entertain Tim Lincecum.

  2. I’d love Shields, but based off of what KC gave up for him, I doubt they’d let him go very easily.

  3. I don’t know Jabby, but I’m thinking his James Shield’s comment is tongue-in-cheek?!?
    I gotta believe that KC thinks he’s a center piece that they can build around.

    I would think that a guy like Cliff Lee could be had for a few fringe prospects, provided that the trade partner takes on hefty piece of his ridiculous contract.

    I still believe the Orioles have to be in a stock-piling mode and not give up anyone too significant. Again, if Lee can be had cheap (prospect-wise) then go for him,

  4. MGW,
    Thanks for comments. Your support is appreciated.

    As for Shields, I just think if the Royals continue to struggle they won’t want to pick up the $12 mil option for 2014. So instead of losing him for nothing, they could at least try and recoup some players they gave up to get him. I understand its a long shot, but how good would look anchoring a 2014 rotation of Gaus, Bundy, Tillman, Chen/Hammel?

    Just a thought. The O’s are never paying Cliff Lee type $. .

    • What kind of package do you think could land Shields? Would an Arietta, Schoop package do it? Heck, I’ll throw in Avery, too.

  5. I’d have every position player available aside from Schoop and Henry. Also every pitchers except Bundy and Wright to land a veteran inning eating starter. Package a deal, Ford, Hoes and Arietta…let’s make a deal. Utley and Lee would both look fantastic in orange and black. Houston might want to reduce their $21M payroll by eliminating Bud.

  6. I don’t want Utley. We have Utley already. His name is Brian Roberts. I think Schoop is probably too valuable at this point since our one glaring hole is second base. This is of course unless the top secret plan was to save up some cash to get Cano this offseason (I know, shut up, let me dream).

    We have a glut of outfielders that I would be fine getting rid of and while “I like our guys,” I could stand to see the Arrietas and Brittons go if we brought in some top quality starting pitching somehow.

  7. James Shields or Cliff Lee , either one could put the O’s over the hump,,,,,,,,,,,it is up to the organization to figure out how to get one in an O’s uniform , they should be working hard on this because a world series could depend on it and the fans deserve it,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the one problem is , that’s right , Peter the great………………..

    • Can’t give up the farm to get either of them. We did this during Peter’s first few years when they ignored the farm system and tried to buy a pennant – Bonilla, Belle, Alomar, Palmeiro, Bordick…

      If they can get a Cliff Lee, on the cheap – players wise – then do it.

      No way Shields comes here. Would take nearly every half-way decent player in the system and then they’re back to square one.

      • The Royals gave up their #1 rated prospect for Shields…

      • Would you give up Bundy for Shields ?

        • No. Especially because they wouldn’t do it even stevens, we’d have to give up Bundy AND other players. We already don’t have a ton of (quality) depth in our minor league system.

          Also, according to MLB trade rumors, the O’s are one of the no trade teams in Cliff Lee’s contract, so that may be difficult.

  8. Shield would not put us over the top. Lee and Rollins would make mote sense.

  9. Shields is more attainable without giving up KG or Bundy. Plus, he would be at least $10mil less per year than Lee. JRollins is not on my radar.

    • Given what KC gave up to get him, Wil Myers and Jake Odorizzi, do you think the Orioles farm system has the players it takes to now pry him away from KC?

    • Why would KC deal Shields after giving up so much? A top pitcher ans a 2nd baseman is needed.

  10. Dealing Shields would admit failure. Lee, even Hamels…

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