News and notes

Before finding out if the Orioles can end a 15-game losing streak in Toronto tonight, here are some random news, notes and takes.

* The Orioles have struggled so much to score runs this year that it's tough to lose when they do put up some runs. They are now 24-11 on the season when scoring four runs or more. However, they have lost the last three games in which they scored more than four runs, putting up five, six and five runs, respectively, in those games. No great outburst, but they wasted some runs there. The Orioles have lost six times over the last 14 games when scoring four or more.

* The Orioles have actually gone four straight games now with 10 hits or more and that is their second best stretch of the year, behind a seven-game run in mid-May. They have 47 hits, 23 runs and a team average of .296 over the past four games, but have just one win.

This year, it seems, the runners in scoring position stat is so big for this team. Friday, in a 7-0 win over Tampa Bay, the O's went 3-for-11 with RISP. In their last three games, all losses, they are just 3-for-25 (.120) in those situations.

* It looks like the offense for the Double-A Bowie Baysox has finally come to life. Since getting shutout in back-to-back games on June 2 and 3, respectively, Bowie has won seven of eight games, scoring 47 runs in the process. The Baysox have scored 23 runs over the past three games.

Brandon Waring has homered five times in the last six games and Joe Mahoney hit a solo homer and walked twice last night in his first Bowie game since May 3.

The Baysox are now 33-31 and if their offense, which has been poor most of this season, gets in gear, another Bowie playoff run could be in the offing.

* Classy move: On the night the Single-A Frederick Keys clinched the Carolina League's first-half title in their division, the second place Wilmington Blue Rocks sent the Keys a congratulatory note on their Twitter feed.

* J.J. Hardy is playing like a player worthy of a contract extension. With three more hits last night, his batting average is up to .296. Hardy is batting .414 (12-for-29) during his current seven-game batting streak. Over his last 12 games he is batting .413 (19-for-46) with four homers and eight RBIs.

It seems like many fans, reporters and even a coach or two have remarked "his defense is better than I thought." Hardy is just rock solid there, and in some ways, reminds me of Mike Bordick, although I am not sure he is quite on Bordy's defensive level. He has just been a solid addition and if he signs an extension, I would think most fans would see that as great news.

* The Orioles have now signed six of their draft picks. The latest two to come to terms were left-handed pitcher Trent Howard, taken in round seven out of Central Michigan and catcher Adam Davis, drafted in round 11 out of the University of Illinois.

The 21-year-old Howard, the 215th overall selection, went 4-4 with an ERA of 2.78 this season for Central Michigan. A three-time, all conference second team pick, he fanned 96 batters in 87 1/3 innings with a .234 average against.

Davis batted .290 for the Illini with 14 doubles, five homers, 15 stolen bases and 33 RBIs. He was named Most Outstanding Player in the Big Ten tournament. He threw out 18 of 52 runners trying to steal for a 35 percent caught stealing rate.

Earlier the Orioles signed pitcher Matt Taylor (round 5), catcher Cameron Edmund (round 29), pitcher Zachary Fowler (round 34) and second baseman Jerome Pena (round 38).

Since all six of these players are college draft picks, you have to figure that some or most of them will be assigned to short season Single-A Aberdeen, where the IronBirds new season begins on Friday.

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