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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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