There are so many encouraging stats to pick from since Buck Showalter took over as manager of the Orioles.
How about these:
The Orioles went 1-14 in series vs. AL East foes before Buck and with Buck they won five of nine series vs. the East. Before Buck, they were 10-35 in games in the division and with Buck they went 14-13.
O's record vs. AL East teams with Buck:
*vs. Tampa: 5-4
*vs. NYY: 3-3
*vs. Boston: 3-3
*vs. Toronto: 3-3
The East seems like less of a Beast these days. Maybe Buck convinced the players that those other players put their pants on one leg at a time just like they do. He also reminded his O's to "not give the other team too much credit."
The AL East is the best division in baseball and maybe the best in all of pro sports. With Buck, the O's held their own vs. the Beasts of the East. Very impressive.
Here are some pitching notes from the Tampa series:
*The Orioles allowed just five runs on 12 hits in the series with a team ERA of 1.73.
*Brian Matusz and Kevin Millwood combined to pitch 14 innings, allowing five hits, all singes, with five walks and 15 strikeouts. Of the five singles they did give up, four were either bloops or infield singles.
*The O's bullpen pitched seven shutout innings allowing just one hit in the series with no walks and eight strikeouts. Tampa hitters went just 1 for 21 at bat vs. the O's pen in the three games.
*Tampa batters hit just .140 in the series with just four extra-base hits and went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
Finally, thanks to those that wrote in with some well-thought out opinions on my blog about Felix Hernandez's chances to win the AL Cy Young award with just 13 wins. It was an interesting debate. Some made compelling arguments for and against his cause.
Several pointed out that Hernandez has not had to pitch in the AL East like some of the other candidates. Well, vs. New York, Toronto and Boston this year (he didn't face Tampa), Hernandez went 4-1, 0.65, allowing 3 ER over 41 1/3 innings in five starts. Add in two starts vs. the O's and he is 5-1, 0.63 vs. the East.
I can't blame him or hold it against him that he didn't face teams from this division more. He pitched against whichever team was put in front of him and was sensational vs. the East this year.
Tim Kurkjian, whose opinion I respect in this game about as much as anyone's, was on ESPN this morning and said Hernandez should and will win the award in his opinion.
If he had just a few more wins, this would be a total slam dunk for him. For a starting pitcher, wins have lost some value in recent years and I am fine with that. Give him Sabathia's run support and those stats and he would have 20 wins, easily.
After double checking the AL East stats by Hernandez this morning, I believe now, even more than I did a day or two ago, that he is the clear top candidate to win the Cy Young award.