I have a little catching up to do after missing last week’s edition of this segment. So here’s a quick recap of what’s been going on with the O’s over the past two weeks. They went 6-4 on their longest road trip of the season. They just got done sweeping the Blue Jays and are now 5-1 against them this season after losing 12 of 18 to them last season. Their pitching has been stellar and their hits have been timely. All in all, things are good in the Baltimore baseball world right now. I just hope it stays that way.
The Bullpen – The O’s bullpen ranks first in the majors with a 1.96 ERA and has been the most solid aspect of the team so far this season. They have a closer in Jim Johnson, who is 7-for-7 in save opportunities and has yet to give up a run. They have a set up guy in Pedro Strop, who seems to never throw below 95 mph. And they have a bunch of other guys who can come in when they are called upon and get batters out. Collectively, the O’s bullpen has 50 strikeouts to just 22 walks on the season and hasn’t allowed an earned run in their last nine innings of work.
Jason Hammel – Hammel has proved to be a great addition to the starting rotation so far. The former Colorado Rockies pitcher is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA while striking out 25 batters and walking only eight. He has by far been the O’s best pitcher this season and will need to continue to dominate if the O’s want a shot at finishing anywhere near the postseason.
Adam Jones – There couldn’t be a hotter player at the plate for the O’s than Jones. He continued his dominance at the plate last night with a solo homer in the eighth to break a 2-2 tie with the Blue Jays, which proved to be the game-winning hit in their 5-2 victory. Jones is now batting .316 on the season along with six homers and 10 RBI.
Nick Johnson – It’s been anything but smooth sailing for the Johnson, who is yet to record a hit for his new team. He is 0-for-26 with six strikeouts and has scored just one run on the season. Not only can he not hit the ball, but that mustache he is rocking isn’t doing him any favors with the ladies.
Tsuyoshi Wada – An elbow injury isn’t what the O’s thought they would be getting when they signed Wada to a two-year, $8.14 million deal back in December. After pitching in just two big-league spring games, Wada started feeling soreness in his elbow, which doctors are now determining to be ligament damage. Wada has had a history of elbow injuries, so hopefully he is able to bounce back from this one and be in an O’s uniform sooner rather than later.
The Hot Corner – Believe it or not, the O’s haven’t had many weak spots so far this season. But if I had to pick one, it would be their defense at third base. Seven of their 22 errors have been committed by O’s third baseman (three by Mark Reynolds and four by Wilson Betemit). It’s not really surprising for Reynolds, though, as he has committed 111 errors as a third baseman in his five-plus year career. If Ryan Flaherty can start hitting, he may be a safer defensive choice at third than Reynolds or Betemit.