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Twelve Orioles Thoughts following series win over Yankees

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With the Orioles taking two of three games to improve to 5-2 in the season series and narrow the gap with the first-place New York Yankees, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. “They’re about as formidable as there is, and the first couple of series, they’ve had their way with us.” Those were Aaron Boone’s words after Baltimore clobbered rookie sensation Luis Gil and New York in a 17-5 final Thursday. Sometimes your opponent says it best. No other “statements” are needed. 

2. The Orioles won the series despite none of their three starting pitchers making it through the fifth inning and the bullpen squandering a four-run lead Wednesday. Mike Elias will continue scanning the market to add pitching reinforcements, but the top scoring and slugging offense in baseball buys him time.

3. The Orioles have now won or split 22 straight series against AL East opponents, going 16-0-6 since April of 2023. That’s the longest streak since divisional play began in 1969. While the sweepless streak was more of a quirky novelty, this one is much more consequential and impressive. 

4. The flight to Houston had to be gratifying after New York’s bellyaching about Aaron Judge being hit on the hand and the tension throughout the series. Juan Soto running into Jordan Westburg on a routine grounder was easily the more suspicious act, however. Also, padded gloves are any hitter’s friend.   

5. For what it’s worth, the Yankees (44) have hit nearly twice as many batters as Baltimore (24) this season and have hit nine compared to three by the Oriole in seven meetings. Brandon Hyde’s club was too busy winning to dwell on on the facts of the spat.

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6. After Judge’s third-inning home run gave the Yankees a glimmer of hope Thursday, Anthony Santander responded with his league-leading 10th long ball in June to crush any thoughts of a comeback. Santander was batting .201 on Memorial Day and is now up to .230. 

7. Since his batting average plummeted to .170 on June 8, Cedric Mullins has gone 12-for-37 with five extra-base hits and three stolen bases to quiet outside chatter about him being optioned to the minors. He was the hero on Wednesday and homered in Thursday’s six-run second inning.

8. Lost in the drama of Wednesday’s 10-inning victory was Cade Povich’s bizarre final line of 4 2/3 innings, one hit, one run, five walks, and one strikeout. It wasn’t very impressive to watch, but the rookie gave his club a chance and made history in the process. That’s baseball. 

9. Ryan O’Hearn had a two-run single Thursday in his 13th plate appearance against a lefty all season. I’m not opposed to him receiving more left-on-left opportunities, but you pick your spots when he’s 7-for-39 the last two years. I had zero issue with Austin Hays batting for him late Wednesday. 

10. With Danny Coulombe out until September, which Orioles reliever are you currently most confident in? Jacob Webb owns a 1.85 ERA, has stranded 15 of 17 inherited runners, and has pitched in more than one inning 12 times. Meanwhile, Yennier Cano has stranded just 16 of 26 inherited runners. 

11. Remember when the Orioles so frequently used a position player to finish off embarrassing losses? The 17 runs were their most in a game since plating 18 against Cleveland in 2021. Freddy Galvis batted cleanup that day. Jorge Lopez was the starting pitcher. What a difference a few years make. 

12. The Orioles just went 4-2 against baseball’s two other best teams, handing All-Star candidates Zack Wheeler and Gil their worst starts of 2024 in the process. They’re on pace for 107 wins and sporting the AL’s best ERA despite fair pitching questions. This is a powerhouse that can still improve. 

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