The Baltimore Orioles are currently the hottest team in baseball, and have the only perfect record left in the MLB at 6-0. It is the first time ever that Baltimore has started off a season with six consecutive victories.
The birds opened up the season at home and swept the Minnesota Twins in three games and the Tampa Bay Rays in two games. The series with Tampa was supposed to be a three-game set, but Saturday’s game was rained out. No makeup date has been announced yet.
The O’s are currently in Boston for a three-game series with the Red Sox, and picked up a 9-6 win earlier this afternoon.
Opening Day was an interesting day to say the least. It took nearly six hours to get the game in due to two separate rain delays. Starting pitcher Chris Tillman’s outing was cut short because of the rain, but Tillman had a perfect game going until mother nature took over. Tillman only threw 22 pitches and struck out five. His other out was recorded on a first-pitch popup.
With the game tied at 2 in the bottom of the ninth, fans and media dreaded the thought of spending even more time at the ballpark. Catcher Matt Wieters had other plans, and hit a walk-off single to give the Orioles a 3-2 victory.
Two days later, Yovani Gallardo would make his Orioles debut, pitching five innings and giving up one run on two hits and four strikeouts. Gallardo threw 89 pitches and Chris Davis hit his first home run of the season in the O’s 4-2 win.
The birds wrapped up the series with Minnesota with another 4-2 win on Thursday. Rule 5 draft pick Joey Rickard hit his first major league home run.
Not expected to make the team before spring training, Joey Rickard has been a real treat to watch. Rickard is currently batting .409 with nine hits, two doubles, a home run and three RBI in 22 plate appearances. It will be interesting to see how consistent Rickard can be once pitchers study him a little more, but for now Rickard is proving to be the O’s best option to start alongside Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo in the outfield.
Over the weekend, the Orioles picked up a 6-1 win over the Rays on Friday night and a 5-3 win on Sunday. Manny Machado went four for four in Sunday’s game. Machado is the hottest Orioles hitter so far. In 24 at-bats Machado has 11 hits, a double, three home runs and four RBI with a .458 average. Whether he is hitting first, second, or third in the lineup, Machado continues to show superstar potential with both his offense and amazing defense.
Earlier this afternoon the Orioles defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-6. The day was all about David Ortiz having his last opening day at Fenway Park, but Chris Davis crashed the party with his go-ahead three run home run in the ninth inning. Along with Machado, Davis also has three home runs.
The Orioles will play two more games in Boston before heading to Texas for a four game series against the Rangers.
The Orioles have already had some injury concerns arise a week into the season. Center-fielder Adam Jones injured his oblique / rib area swinging at a pitch in his last at-bat of Wednesday’s game. Jones was rumored to be ready for Monday’s game against the Red Sox, but after testing the injury pregame he was unable to make the start. However, he did come into the game in the ninth inning.
“I want to be on the field,” Jones told reporters on Monday. “If missing a couple more days helps me not miss a month or two, then its what we have to do.”
Shortstop JJ Hardy missed Friday’s game against the Rays with calf tightness, but returned to action on Sunday. Hardy has dealt with several injuries over the past two seasons, so whether healthy or tweaked expect manager Buck Showalter go give Hardy days off all throughout the season.
The Orioles will be faced with a couple roster decisions shorty. Pitcher Brian Matusz injured his back during spring training and is expected back sometime this week. However, Matusz had an ugly outing while pitching for the Bowie Baysox earlier today.
Matusz is needed in the Orioles righty-heavy bullpen, but no one really knows who the Orioles will end up sending down.
Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman will also be returning soon after battling tendinitis in his throwing shoulder during spring training. Gausman made a rehab start for the Baysox on Sunday, allowing one unearned run on four hits and two strikeouts. Gausman threw 47 pitches in over two innings of work. The Orioles have not given word on when exactly Gausman will return, but apparently his shoulder is feeling a lot better.
Overall, this has been the best first week of a regular season for the Orioles in a long time. Both the defense and offense are doing their job and the club seems to be a solid unit overall. It will not be this way for the entire season, but what this team has shown in its six victories has been promising.
Another tidbit to feel good about is the fact that the last time the Orioles started off as good as they have, they made the World Series. In 1970 the Orioles went 5-0 (2016 was the first time since then that the Orioles have done that) and would go on to win a championship. Perhaps the fact that the Orioles are now 6-0 bodes even better.
Time will tell, but the Orioles Magic is in full swing as the 2016 regular season gets underway.