ATLANTA - The Orioles have finally won a road series outside of New York, but why stop there?
They can earn their first three-game series sweep in 2018 if they defeat the Braves this afternoon to conclude the road trip. No one is suggesting that an entire season is turning around and they’re on the verge of becoming buyers instead of sellers. But, hey, it really is true that winning is more fun than losing.
It isn’t just a rumor.
“Winning cures a lot of things,” first baseman Chris Davis confirmed, “but each and every day you can come in here and control how you feel, how you treat other people, and I think that’s been the biggest thing, guys picking each other up, not getting down on each other. That goes a long way.”
The Orioles have won four of their last six games and are 29 below .500. What’s shorter than baby steps? It doesn’t matter. They’ll take any reward that’s within their reach. Any excuse to feel good about themselves while fans and media deliver daily shots.
“I think overall we’ve done a pretty good job of staying even-keel with all the struggles we had, but obviously it’s nice to come here and win two games against a really good ballclub,” said closer Zach Britton, who earned his first save yesterday since Sept. 17, 2017.
“Even (Friday) night, obviously, we had a big lead there, I gave it up and for them to fight back through extra innings and come back today with not a lot of sleep, the offense come up right away and do a good job ...
“It’s good for the bullpen I think overall just to get a win for the guys.”
How about three of them in a single series?
An Atlanta-based media member tried to coax some enthusiasm out of manager Buck Showalter. Taking the first two games against the Braves, who lead the National League East. Sitting on the edge of a sweep.
Isn’t it a big deal? Shouldn’t everyone rejoice and maybe work on their cartwheels and somersaults?
“In our situation and how we’re trying to win baseball games, who it’s against and where and what it does math-wise, we’re just trying to win baseball games,” Showalter replied.
Rookie David Hess has struggled in back-to-back starts for the first time in the majors, allowing a combined 10 runs and 10 hits with seven walks in eight innings and raising his ERA from 3.07 to 4.82. He hasn’t completed the fifth.
Hess has held right-handers to a .229 average this year. Left-handers are hitting .288.
The Braves ranked 14th in the majors before yesterday with 87 home run. Hess has surrendered nine in 37 1/3 innings.
Brandon McCarthy, in his first season with the Braves, is 5-3 with a 4.89 ERA and 1.493 WHIP in 14 starts over 73 2/3 innings. Right-handers are hitting .325 against him and left-handers are hitting .278.