Orioles @ Royals (w lineups)

*In case you missed it, or feel asleep, the Orioles won their fifth consecutive extra-inning contest last night, beating the Royals 4-3 in 15 innings. It was the second longest game of the year –who can forget that one in Fenway Park? — and manager Buck Showalter spoke highly of his team’s resolve afterward. (Note, you can read the whole game recap here.)

“You play a late game last night with the emotion in the Yankee series and I’m sure these guys didn’t get to bed before 4 a.m.,” Showalter said. “There’s such a temptation to give in. In our sport, if you can stay mentally and emotionally strong, you are going to get a payback.

“Our guys have had a lot of resolve about finishing the task. We have a lot of guys here who have had their nose bloodied. They are willing to fight so that it doesn’t happen again.”

*How good is Adam Jones right now? I remember this spring Showalter showing some regret that the team didn’t have a true cleanup hitter and instead would have to rely on younger hitters like Jones and Wieters to hold down the middle of the lineup. It’s early, but both of them have impressed me at the plate, particularly Jones who show some maturity in hitting the go-ahead homer despite going 0-=for-6 prior to that. There were times in previous seasons I think  Jones would have been too frustrated in his prior at-bats to be successful, but that wasn’t the case last night.

He now has 12 homers, and nine have either tied the game or given the Orioles a lead.

*The Orioles have their first six-game road winning streak since 2004 and will look to finish a quick two game sweep with Brian Matusz on the hill against Luke Hochevar. You can read the game preview here.

*The O’s will pack up following this afternoon’s game and get ready to kick of InterLeague Play with this weekend’s series in DC against the Nationals. I have a full story up here previewing the games, and am curious if this series –and rivalry — is more exciting to fans now that both teams are playing well. Does it feel like a rivalry at all? Or, as I got in email today, is it all media-driven?

 

ORIOLES LINEUP
Xavier Avery LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Nick Markakis RF
Adam Jones CF
Wilson Betemit DH
Chris Davis 1B
Robert Andino 2B
Ryan Flaherty 3B
Luis Exposito C

LHP Brian Matusz

ROYALS LINEUP
Jarrod Dyson CF
Johnny Giavotella DH
Billy Butler 1B
Alex Gordon LF
Jeff Francoeur RF
Mike Moustakas 3B
Alcides Escobar SS
Irving Falu 2B
Humberto Quintero C

RHP Luke Hochevar

3 Comments

It has been so exciting watching the O’s this year. I am hoping they will hold it together all season long! Live in South Carolina now but we will in Baltimore next weekend to see the Royals. I hope they sweep the Nationals this weekend.

This team is in serious need of a game plan when it comes to bat. They are lucky our bullpen was so good, because as a rule the at-bats in extra innings were atrocious. KC relievers threw only an average of 9 pitches per inning from the 10th – 14th innings. I am seriously starting to question Jim Presley’s methods. You have to manufacture runs, not just hack for the long ball.

I’m absolutely loving watching this O’s team. I hope the D at 3B can get better though … I’d advocate putting Flaherty or Andino there, and hope that Flaherty can get started swinging the bat (his average isn’t much less than Reynolds’ although the OBP is much worse).

As for O’s vs. Nats, I don’t really think there’s much of a rivalry. I think that the O’s are looking at it the same way they looked at the Rangers in that they’re playing one of the better teams in MLB. The fact that it’s just a bus ride away does make it a bit different, but if both teams weren’t doing well, no one would care all that much.

I’m heading to the Sunday game in DC. Should be a heck of a game with Strasburg vs. Chen. Go O’s!

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