A few random thoughts (and Pettit note)

A road trip that was supposed to crush the Orioles has produced two wins in the first three games.

Reminds me of the trip to New York and Tampa Bay that was supposed to crush them.

This just in: The bullpen is still really, really good. It's the No. 1 reason why the Orioles would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

Jim Johnson would get my vote for Most Valuable Oriole if I had to submit my ballot today, but I'd still like to make an exception and just give it to the entire relief corps.

The Orioles may try to avoid making another roster move until they get back home. They have three games in Texas and Steve Johnson is still available in long relief. Having an extra arm in the bullpen may be more important in Arlington than having an extra body on the bench.

Ryan Flaherty could be next in line. He's swinging a hot bat in Norfolk and he's following Orioles manager Buck Showalter's instructions by playing multiple positions - left field, right field, third base, second base, first base.

Showalter must decide what he's going to do with his rotation, which can be tweaked because of Thursday's off-day. And every roster move must be made with the Aug. 31 deadline in mind.

Yes, I'm referring to the date when players must be on the 25-man roster to be eligible for the postseason. Yes, it applies to the Orioles this year.

machado-fielding-white-sidebar.jpgI'm pleasantly surprised by how well Manny Machado has adjusted to third base. He's making plays along the line, and in foul territory, that would challenge most veterans. And his arm is amazing.

Machado and Mark Reynolds have tightened up the defense on the infield corners, just as Nate McLouth has done in left field.

I don't care how Machado hits. His glove alone makes him a valuable addition.

I'd be surprised if Reynolds is suspended for his remarks about the umpires in Detroit, but he's still facing a hefty fine. Seems fair. I didn't disagree with anything he said - besides how the umps were probably laughing, and he retracted that statement the next day - but Major League Baseball will have to make an example of him.

No one can question Taylor Teagarden's toughness. He took two foul balls off his mask in the same inning yesterday and still held onto a foul tip for a third strike. He probably heard birds chirping around his head as the next batter walked to the plate.

Nothing new to report on reliever Miguel Socolovich, who was designated for assignment last week. I'm told it's still a process that will take a minimum of three more days and a maximum of seven.

As you evaluate pitcher Kevin Gausman, the fourth-overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft who served up two home runs in his first game with Single-A Frederick, keep in mind that the Orioles have taken away his curveball and altered his delivery.

No one asked me, but I'd give him back his curveball and his old delivery. It's worked well enough for him to be the fourth-overall pick. But what do I know?

Update: Double-A Bowie left-hander Jake Pettit was named the Eastern League's Pitcher of the Week.

Pettit went 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA and five strikeouts over 7 2/3 innings. He tossed 7 1/3 no-hit innings Saturday against Trenton before surrendering a home run.

Pettit is 9-3 with a 4.10 ERA in 22 games (19 starts) this season.

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