Chris Davis

Guest post by Daniel Clark from Pen & Paper Sports. You can follow Daniel on Twitter @DJC_Sports. Orioles news and notes to get you caught up before first pitching tonight against the New York Yankees on ESPN.

The Orioles have had a solid first half of the 2013 MLB season and despite many so-called experts predicting a decline after 93 wins in 2012, they appear stronger in many areas this year.

The starting pitching has been inconsistent, as has the bullpen, however the improvement in the hitting department is what has many thinking the O’s will again challenge for the AL East title come September.

After an 11-3 thumping of the struggling Yankees on Saturday night, the O’s will look to sweep their divisional rivals on Sunday night, something which the Os have had trouble doing to teams in 2013.

Here is the latest news:

– Brian Roberts is expected to return to the O’s line up for game three against the Yankees on Sunday night.

– Nolan Reimold is hitting .190 whilst rehabbing with Bowie. Despite his struggles, there is mounting speculation that he could join the O’s on their next road trip, to Chicago and New York.

– Wei-Yin Chen returned to baseball for the first time since May 12 on Saturday night, throwing 5 innings for the Bowie against Harrisburg. Chen allowed 4 runs off 5 hits and struck out 5, in a 6-4 Bowie win.

– After his recent promotion from Bowie, where he was hitting .365, Henry Urrutia is 3-11 with Norfolk after 3 games. He is becoming well known to O’s fans and all will be hoping for more success in the coming weeks.

– Tsuyoshi Wada allowed 2 runs through 6.1 innings in a 4-3 win for Norfolk over Gwinnett on Saturday night. His record in 2013 is 1-4 with an ERA of 5.74.

– Young outfielder LJ Hoes has had a fantastic June with Norfolk, hitting .340 with 2 home runs and 14 RBI. He is hitting .301 on the season.

Finally, here are some interesting statistics you may not be aware of:

– The Orioles have won back-to-back home series against the Yankees for the first time since April 18-20/May 26-28 back in 2008.

– After allowing yet another run on Saturday night, Pedro Strop has seen his ERA rise to 7.25. He has allowed 18 runs in just 22.1 innings pitched. By comparison, in 2012 his ERA was just 2.44, allowing 18 runs in 66.1 innings.

– Since returning from Norfolk on May 29, Ryan Flaherty has hit .305 (25-82). This is a huge improvement from the .133 he was hitting prior to his short stint with the Tides.

– Chris Davis, after hitting 2 more home runs on Saturday night, is now on track to hit 60 in 2013. Prior to 2013, his previous best was 33 in 2012. The record for an Orioles player is 50 by Brady Anderson in 1996.

– Manny Machado has now 37 doubles in 2013 and is on track for 73. The most in a season was 67 by Earl Webb (Boston), in 1931.

– After a slow start to the season, J.J. Hardy has been hot in June, hitting .323 with 5 home runs and 14 RBI. On May 2, Hardy was hitting just .188, now his average has risen to .265.

– The last 11 times Miguel Gonzalez has pitched at Oriole Park, the O’s have won.