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With NBA Season Over, Let's Enjoy Baseball's Brief Life on Center Stage

I wasn’t rooting for Lebron James and his remarkable young sidekick Kyrie Irving. But I am glad that Cleveland’s long drought without a major sports championship since 1964 is at last over. And who knows? The Indians are definitely a contender in a mediocre AL Central.

Of course, as a confirmed Orioles addict, the AL East has been the race I’m following the most closely. The Birds’ lead is only one game as summer begins but Baltimore just finished a week in which they won three-game series at Boston and at home against Toronto, their two biggest rivals so far in 2016.

The Orioles are winning without any semblance of a consistent starting rotation.
There have been remarkable performances like Chris Tillman’s and rookie Tyler Wilson’s victories in Boston, but there is no assurance that either one will continue
to provide consistent deep-inning performances.

Tillman did improve his record to an impressive 10-1 in winning the rubber match against Toronto, but he only worked five innings, giving up four runs in second inning. All came on on two-run homers to the Blue Jays potent double play combination of Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, both back from stints on the disabled list.

The Blue Jays starting pitching is not exactly overwhelming, but the Birds were fortunate that Toronto’s best starter this season, Marco Estrada, did not work in the recently concluded series.

One thing I’ll say about the 2016 Orioles – they are resilient, the offense can be explosive, and the defense is often extraordinary. The latest example: Reliever Mychal Givens, a converted shortstop, made a remarkable sliding grab and accurate throw on an infield dribbler to preserve the lead in Saturday's 4-2 victory over Toronto.

The loss of Manny Machado to a four-game suspension will hurt, but the return from injury of JJ Hardy to shortstop will definitely help.

The decisions from MLB justice are certainly strange. Machado was bound to be suspended for charging Yordano Ventura after being plunked by a 99 mph fastball. But Ventura in effect was suspended for only one start - he was the instigator and not for the first time.

One thing about baseball - there is always something new and something controversial. Looks like an exciting summer ahead and as always my hope remains that the Orioles will be “playing meaningful games in September” and beyond.

That’s all for now. Always remember: Take it easy but take it!

YIBF (Yours In Baseball Forever), Teny Ymota (The Earl of NY, Your Man On The Aisle)
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