A Week of Breakthroughs

Since the Orioles' youth movement began back in May, we've heard how hard the young players are working to improve.

We've heard about Felix Pie working endlessly with hitting coach Terry Crowley in the batting cages. We've listened to the accounts of the great bullpen sessions Brian Matusz has had with pitching coach Rick Kranitz. We know Nolan Reimold has been learning how to position himself in the outfield against American League hitters. It's been made clear that Matt Wieters is taking in all there is to conquer in the big leagues.

There's no question a lot of people within the Orioles organization have spent the last five months teaching and instructing these promising young players.

Though it's been encouraging to hear how hard they're working, it's time to see some results, not just promise. This past week we did. Finally, we saw a number of Orioles turn the corner.

Felix Pie and Matt Wieters are both swinging a hot bat as if all of the sudden a switch was turned on. Both are riding five-plus game hitting streaks. Pie has hit four homers in his last seven games, and Wieters is hitting .357 during his seven-game hitting streak.

Sunday afternoon Matusz decided to stop holding back and throw the ball like he did in the minor leagues. The result was his best start of his big league career. He gave up just one earned run in seven innings.

Along with Brad Bergesen, Reimold is a rookie who made a seamless transition to the big leagues. His offensive production has made him a Rookie of the Year candidate, but his defense was the one area still in need of work. This past weekend we saw some solid defensive plays in left field that show not only improvement but toughness. Reimold has been playing with an Achilles Heel injury for a while a now, so he's making progress despite not being completely healthy.

After a tough August, these types of breakthroughs will give us something to look for in September.