If you thought that the Orioles would go 0-10 on this road trip, well, you were just plain wrong.
They won yesterday, so there’s no need for all that negativity.
I’m not one to overreact - OK, I’m famous for overreacting - but there’s no way I’d remove Mark Reynolds from the cleanup spot.
Reynolds hit a two-run homer and had a sacrifice fly yesterday in the Orioles’ 5-4 victory over the Braves. He has six homers over his last 13 games, and a team-leading 18 for the season.
The Orioles regain their designated hitter tonight in Texas, which means Vladimir Guerrero returns to the lineup. They don’t want to be disrespectful to the future Hall of Famer, but he needs to be moved down in the order.
Keep J.J. Hardy on top of it. Nick Markakis went 5-for-5 yesterday and is batting .296 on the season and .436 over his last 22 games. You might be tempted to lower him to the middle of the order, but I’m leaving him where he’s thriving. Adam Jones had a forgettable game yesterday, but he’s fine in the third slot.
Let Reynolds be the cleanup hitter. Let Matt Wieters bat fifth. Draw the rest of the names out of a hat. I don’t care. The top five should be set.
Before yesterday, Reynolds had 571 career at-bats as a cleanup hitter, the second-most of any spot in the lineup. He was batting .243 with 41 homers and 93 RBIs in those 157 games.
For the record, he has 836 at-bats as the No. 5 hitter and is batting .237 with 46 homers and 155 RBIs.
The Orioles get Rangers starter Colby Lewis tonight in Arlington. He’s 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in his last three outings, and opponents are batting .184 against him. He’s got 24 strikeouts in his last 20 1/3 innings.
Lewis is 0-3 with a 6.10 ERA in five appearances against the Orioles, and they’re batting .314 against him. Reynolds is 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs.
Bat him fourth.
Meanwhile, the choice for tomorrow night’s starter is down to Alfredo Simon or Mitch Atkins. Do you have a preference?
Down on the farm, Brandon Snyder homered twice yesterday for Triple-A Norfolk, raising his season total to 11. Snyder started at third base while Josh Bell nurses a sore knee.
Chris Tillman got the win, improving to 3-2 with a 4.54 ERA, but he allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings, with three walks and three strikeouts. He allowed three home runs and threw 92 pitches, 55 for strikes. That’s not good enough to get him back in the majors.
Jeremy Accardo threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings. He hasn’t allowed a run since reporting to the Tides.
While Zach Britton was settling for a no-decision yesterday, brother Buck was hitting his second home run for Double-A Bowie.
LJ Hoes went 3-for-3 to raise his average to .306. Shortstop Pedro Florimon committed two errors, on a throw and missed catch, to raise his total to 19.
Single-A Frederick first baseman Tyler Townsend hit his 11th home run, and Sean Gleason recorded his 23rd save.
Shortstop Manny Machado went 0-for-4. He’s batting .171.
Former second-round pick Mychal Givens went 3-for-4 with a double and is batting .317 at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
As expected, left-hander Clay Rapada accepted his assignment to Norfolk. He could have refused, since he’s been outrighted in the past, but the Orioles figured that he’d stay in the organization after a team official spoke to his agent.