This, that and the other

The Orioles have been on both sides of a three-game sweep. They’ve already got two firsts out of the way in the 2012 season.

Now it’s time for their first road trip.

Tommy Hunter gets the start in tonight’s series opener in Toronto, where the Orioles have lost 26 of their last 31 games. They haven’t won a season series against the Blue Jays since 2004.

Jays starter Brandon Morrow is 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA in 12 career appearances against the Orioles, including five starts. In his first outing this season, he held the Indians to two unearned runs and one hit over seven innings. Hunter also gave up two unearned runs in his initial start.

J.J. Hardy is 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBIs lifetime against Morrow. Nolan Reimold is 3-for-6 with a homer and three RBIs. Chris Davis is 2-for-4 with a double, home run, two RBIs and two walks.

Yunel Escobar is 6-for-11 with three doubles, a home run and four RBIs lifetime against Hunter. However, Adam Lind is 3-for-19 with a double and Jose Bautista is 3-for-17 with two RBIs.

Are you more surprised that Ronny Paulino is batting .667 in two starts or that Robert Andino is tied for the team lead in RBIs with four?

Andino also leads the Orioles with eight strikeouts.

I talked to a National League scout who says Matt Wieters is the best catcher in baseball. He challenged me to name a better one - taking everything into account.

The Orioles, especially Showalter and bench coach John Russell, kept marveling at how Wieters caught a pitch in the Yankees series and actually framed it after being crossed up. He was shifting to the outer half of the plate, anticipating a curveball, and instead got a fastball. He somehow pulled his mitt back across his body and caught the ball in a split-second reaction, his feet moving as if he were on roller skates.

The plate umpire also was crossed up. He called it a strike.

To give you an idea of the degree of difficulty in what Wieters did, it’s about on par with snatching the ball with a pair of chopsticks. Blindfolded.

Adam Jones has a nine-game hitting streak dating back to last season.

Jones has three stolen bases in six games. He didn’t get his third bag last season until the 26th game.

I mentioned this fun fact two nights ago, but I’m still obsessing over it: Is anyone else surprised that Jorge Julio has the most career saves at Camden Yards with 43?

I know he’s responsible for my highest total of game story rewrites while I was working at The Sun. Seemed like he blew a save in every game at Tropicana Field.

Johnny Damon has signed with the Cleveland Indians, but I fully expect at least one report to surface today that the Orioles are still in on him. Just wait for it.

Chris Tillman’s final line last night for Triple-A Norfolk: 5 2/3 innings, 3 hits, 0 runs, 2 walks, eight strikeouts, 100 pitches, 64 strikes.

I like everything except those 100 pitches in fewer than six full innings.

Jai Miller doubled and tripled for Norfolk and is now batting .320 with five extra-base hits in seven games this season.

Double-A Bowie’s Buck Britton went 5-for-6 from the leadoff spot. He doubled twice and drove in a run.

Manny Machado had two hits and his second error. He’s batting .323.

I’m not looking to dampen the enthusiasm over Dylan Bundy, and I’m fully convinced that he’s the real deal, but it’s probably worth noting that he had a few rough outings at minor league camp before joining Single-A Delmarva. I heard he didn’t get out of an inning. Something along those lines. So there may be instances where he doesn’t strike out two-thirds of the batters he faces.

If it happens again in his next start, I’ll reconsider my stance.

I’ll close this entry by passing along this link that’s provided by Amber Theoharis, who is encouraging people to join her and daughter Dylan for the March of Dimes March for Babies on May 5 at Camden Yards. Donations will gladly be accepted if you can’t make the walk.

The mission of March of Dimes is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality.

It’s a cause that hits close to home for Amber. She’d greatly appreciate your support. She’s got mine.

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