O's show some spunk and chemistry during 5-3 start

The Orioles began yesterday in a four-way tie for first place in the American League East and now they are, at least for a day, alone at the top at 5-3. So they've got that going for them.

They also seem to have a little spunk and chemistry going for them in the early going. It is impressive that they pulled out these games in Toronto considering they kept giving up leads on Friday night and their own error led to Toronto taking a lead in the sixth yesterday. But they pulled both out late, with the key hits coming in the eighth Friday and then in the eighth and ninth innings yesterday.

The Orioles have outscored Toronto 6-0 in the eighth and ninth innings of the last two games.

The starting pitching and bullpen have gotten off to good starts and that is such a key for this team. While the defense has been shaky at third base and a couple of batters, like J.J. Hardy and Mark Reynolds, are not hitting much yet, the team has still won games and that is a good sign.

Some fans will say, "But wait until they hit their first rough patch," but they've hit it already. They got swept by the Yankees and two nights in a row failed to pull it out in the last of the ninth. Heck, New York practically handed them the game the night Freddy Garcia started. Yet, they quickly put that behind them. Another good sign.

I wrote a few months ago that this should be the year where Nolan Reimold and Chris Davis both get 500 at-bats and that the team should find out now, once and for all, whether they will be part of the future or not. That seems to be the plan and I am all in favor of that. Both players had big days in Saturday's win.

Here are some other notes on the Orioles:

* Today the club can complete its first three-game sweep in Toronto since April 22-24, 2005. In that series finale, Sidney Ponson outpitched Roy Halladay 7-1 with a complete game five-hitter.

* An Orioles win today and they would match the most wins they've had in Toronto for a single season at any point over the last six years.

* The Orioles had five series sweeps of three or four games during the 2011 season. They got their second one during their 12th series in mid-May. They can get their second series sweep this year today in their third series of this season.

* We've seen a solid performance by the pitchers so far, with a team ERA of 2.84. The starters' ERA is 3.10 and the bullpen ERA is 2.36. The 'pen has not allowed an earned run over seven innings in Toronto. Darren O'Day has pitched two shutout innings at Rogers Centre on just 16 total pitches, Luis Ayala has not been scored on in four games so far and Jim Johnson is 4-for-4 in saves.

* The Orioles managed to score six runs on Saturday without a single hit with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-5. The O's have scored 13 runs in the series on 19 hits, including three doubles and six homers.

* Six of the Orioles' eight games so far have been decided by two runs or less and the club is 4-2 in those games. Last year, the Orioles were 36-35 in games decided by two or less. That one surprised me; I didn't remember them having a winning record then in the close ones but they did.

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