Whereas it seems that much of the Orioles' season has been tinted in a deep shade of black, the Birds have now won two straight. I'm not sure if it's one of those it's always darkest before the dawn deals, however the fact is that coming out of that Sunday game in Anaheim the Orioles looked like they were ready to not see a diamond until at least next March. The question is whether or not we've seen the real Orioles for the majority of the summer, or if we've seen them the past few days. The Oriole haters and the "realists" out there would say that their record still is what it is for a reason, and they're probably right. However humor me for a moment. Nevermind the injuries; the real issue on this team has been pitching, or the lack thereof. What we saw from Zach Britton and Alfredo Simon the past two nights is what we expected to see for most of the season. Granted that wasn't possible due to the injuries, however I digress. Both pitchers were masterful in their respective starts in different ways. Britton found ways to get himself into trouble (which is typical from a rookie), but proved to be good at getting out of it also. Simon just mowed down most of the Minnesota hitters that came to the plate. Ultimately both pitchers gave up one run in each game, which makes it much easier to win.
What we also saw from the Orioles was clutch hitting. In Monday's game we saw solo homers from J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters, and last night we got a homer from Nolan Reimold, and various clutch hits with RISP. If you can get good offensive production and good pitching, you're going to win games. I've said many times that you're only as good as the bottom of your lineup. The 6-9 hitters last night went a combined 8-for-17. Furthermore, Reimold's three-run homer propelled the O's to victory, as the outfielder continues to endear himself to fans and to make a case for his inclusion on the 2012 roster. The question is why couldn't this have been the case for the rest of the summer? Keep in mind that injuries, mistakes, and ineffectiveness has kept this roster in a state of flux almost since opening day. However now we're starting to see the likes of Robert Andino and Nolan Reimold getting hot at the plate after they've gotten some time in the lineup. So while there isn't much you can do with injuries, it does pay to have a lineup that's virtually the same each day.
As I said, the O's have now won two straight. That's a small accomplishment for most teams, but when you've been as inconsistent as the Orioles it means something. They now have two opprotunities to win one more game in order to take their first series since June 25th. In terms of road series', they haven't won one since May. The Twins are the last sub-.500 team that the Orioles will play in 2011, so perhaps a series victory (or-dare I say it-sweep) would give them some confidence to play with the other teams they have left to play this season. But before any of that, let's just try to win tonight.