Ain’t the beer cold!
That’s the phrase coined famous by the legendary sportscaster Chuck Thompson, who called Baltimore Orioles games, via radio or TV, for nearly four decades. He would say the expression whenever things were going well for the home team.
Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Davis, right, high-fives teammate Trey Mancini after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Baltimore, Wednesday, April 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Well, things are certainly going well for the Orioles so far in 2017, as they started off the new season with a 4-0 record.
The Orioles swept the Toronto Blue Jays in a short two-game home series to open the season, April 3-5 then won two straight games against the New York Yankees April 7-8.
Baltimore’s series win over Toronto was particularly impressive, given how it was able to turn its greatest weakness into a strength to gain victories in both games.
The Orioles had questions surrounding their starting pitcher rotation, yet starter Kevin Gausman pitched well enough in Game One to steal a low-scoring 3-2 win. Gausman gave up five hits and two runs as he lasted into the sixth inning before team skipper Buck Showalter went to the Orioles’ stellar bullpen to put the game away.
Game Two against Toronto played out the same way with Dylan Bundy starting at pitcher. Bundy lasted seven full innings, allowing just four hits and one run. Set-up relief pitcher Brad Brach and closer Zach Britton came out the bullpen to put the dagger in the 3-1 victory for the Orioles, just as they did in Game One.
The starting pitching didn’t go as well in Baltimore’s two wins over the Yankees April 7-8. Ubaldo Jimenez surrendered seven hits and five runs in less than five innings pitched in Game One, forcing Showalter to go to the bullpen early. The Orioles went through four relief pitchers before closing out a 6-5 win with Brach and Britton. Game Two ended the same way, as Gausman got his second start in four games. Gausman gave up eight hits and four runs before he was pulled off the mound in the fifth inning. Again, the bullpen stopped the bleeding and Brach set up the close for Britton, who earned his third save of the season.
Baltimore won all four games with timely hits on offense and strong pitching during the late innings. It’s not exactly how fans nor pundits expected the Orioles to be winning games but perhaps that’s a good thing. The team is built to score a lot of runs early in games to overcome for a lack of consistency with its starting pitching. So far, the offense has been slow to start games, yet clutch enough to outscore their opponents late in games. If Baltimore can eventually get off to faster starts offensively, while maintaining this solid level of pitching, this team can go a long way this season.