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Orioles Scuffling As The Calendar Turns to June + Tip of Cap to NE Scholastic Contenders

The Orioles started the 2016 season with a club record 7 victories in a row. It was a tonic that we loyal fans really needed because spring training results didn't give much hope.
At two points in the early going the Orioles were actually 11 games over .500 and held a slight lead on the resurgent Red Sox.

Not true anymore. As June begins, the Red Sox with a powerful AND speedy lineup from top to bottom (with the exception of ageless DH David Ortiz who still remains a great run-producer) have opened up a three-game lead on the Orioles who have slipped to 28-22 after 50 games.

With over 100 games still to play, there is plenty of time to turn things around. But there is also cause for concern. We all knew that Oriole pitching would be the proverbial "work in progress" because three rookies or at least very young hurlers were being counted upon.

The two least experienced on the major level, Tyler Wilson and Michael Wright, have been promising. They have many minor league innings under their belt which is not true of Kevin Gausman who was the Orioles' number one draft pick in 2012.

He got tattooed by the Red Sox on the last day of May giving up three home runs in the first two innings. Red Sox leadoff hitter Mookie Betts hit 3 HR, two off Gausman.

Nothing dispirits a team and a fan base than being out of a game so early.
That the Birds lost 6-2 to one of their former top draft picks LHP Eduardo Rodriguez made the loss border on humiliating.

We also lost our sturdy backup catcher Caleb Joseph to a painful testicular injury incurred by a foul tip during Memorial Day's 7-2 loss to Boston. Joseph, another Oriole with a long apprenticeship in the minors, did not have a RBI yet this season but he got some walks and hits, and was always in the game mentally on both sides of the ball.

Things could be worse, of course. There are many teams hopelessly under .500 throughout baseball, and the surprisingly punchless Yankees remain three under .500 as June begins.
But you don't want the Red Sox to get too far ahead and right now their combination of youth and speed and enough arms looks very promising for the Fenway faithful.

It may be time to resort to the old canard - "You are never as good as you look when you are winning or as bad as you look when you are losing." But the heavy-headed realist in me does often amend the last part to read, "You could be as bad as you look when you are losing."

Let me close on a happier note. A salute to surprise teams in northeastern college baseball that made the NCAA Baseball Tournament: Navy, Fairfield University of Fairfield CT, and Princeton.

And a big hurrah to two surprise victors in the PSAL high school baseball tournament.
Fort Hamilton of Brooklyn that knocked off defending champion George Washington, 5-2, and Midwood of Brooklyn that upset perennial contender James Monroe of the Bronx, 10-7.

Tottenville of Staten Island remains a big favorite and Grand Street Campus of Brooklyn, alma mater of Yankees reliever Dellin Betances, is still alive too.
The final will be Monday night at 7p June 13 at Yankee Stadium.

That's all for now - always remember: Take it easy but take it!
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Teny Ymota's Mid-May Reflections on His Orioles

On Sunday afternoon May 15th the Orioles were four outs away from their first 8-game winning streak since 2005. But a missed checked swing call on Detroit's J.D. Martinez led to a game-tying HR to center field off usually reliable O's setup reliever Darren O'Day.

One pitch later Miguel Cabrera untied it with a homer of his own, the first time O'Day had given up back-to-back homers in five years. The usually classy O'Day groused afterwards about the missed strike three call by plate umpire Mark Wegner.

O'Day should have kept his yap shut. It's not a good example for young players when veterans snipe at umpires in front of the press. I saw a nicer thing watching on TV yesterday: Chris Tillman in the dugout probably explaining to Kevin Gausman some of the subtle aspects of the starting pitcher's craft.

Tillman has re-emerged as the ace of the Orioles' oft-maligned all-righthanded starting staff. He has won five games and has pitched deep into most games. Gausman can learn a lot from listening to Tillman.

Gausman remains winless in 2016 but was in line for the victory yesterday until the Tigers' home run barrage. Yet he only worked five innings and was lucky to give up just four runs because he didn't command his fast ball all game - his breaking pitches were also erratic. At least he didn't give up any crooked numbers, and he knows in five days he will pitch again.

The Orioles really stifled last year the development of the number 4 pick in the 2012 draft. Gausman kept shuttling back and forth between the Oriole bullpen and Triple A Norfolk. No way for any young player to develop that way. The greater minor league experience of rookie starters Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright have really aided them in the early going of 2016.

Ah the rigors and twists and turns of the long long baseball season. The Cubs even lost a doubleheader to the perpetually struggling Padres last week but they also put a good whipping on the rival Pirates before finally losing 2-1 to Gerrit Cole on Sunday.

My final note this entry is to congratulate the Princeton Tigers for beating Yale two out of three and earning the first bid to this year's NCAA tournament. Too bad a wild pitch by the Elis produced the winning run but it was a classic playoff series.

That's all for now - Teny Ymota - The Earl of New York Your Man On The Aisle - as always urges you to remember: Take it easy but take it!
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