The Orioles are playing good ball as brutal stretch approaches

So the Orioles are off to an 11-7 start and they have won six of their last nine games. They have been impressive in pulling out some close ones, going 8-2 in games decided by two runs or less.

If the Orioles can go 2-2 in the final four games of this homestand they will enter play Monday with a record of 13-9.

That would give them a cushion of being four games over .500 going into a brutally tough stretch. Starting Monday, they play three games in New York, followed by three at Boston, then return to Camden Yards for four with Texas, three with Tampa Bay and two with New York.

That is a 15-game stretch versus four teams that all won 90 or more games last year, three of which went to the playoffs. If they enter that stretch at 13-9 and go 6-9 or better they could come out of that tough run with an over .500 record of 19-18. That would be an impressive over .500 start through the middle of May against a very tough schedule approaching the quarter pole on the season.

Let's see where they stand then. If this club can reach that point over .500, they may well have a shot at a winning record for the entire season.

Here are some other notes on the Birds:

* The Orioles have already won five games this year when scoring three runs or less, including three in a row now after winning just 10 games all last year when scoring three or fewer runs when they went 10-54. They are 5-5 in such games in 2012.

* The Orioles are 3-0 the last three games while scoring just eight total runs because of solid pitching. The team ERA is 0.96 over the past three games, reducing the season ERA from 3.77 to 3.29.

* Orioles starters now have eight quality starts and the team is 8-0 in those games. Over the past three games, the starters have given up just two earned runs over 19 1/3 innings for an ERA of 0.93.

* After not winning a single series last year against Toronto, going 0-for-6, the Orioles have now won two series against the Jays this year, going 2-for-2. They are 4-1 in 2012 after going 6-12 last year against Toronto. They have not won a season series against the Blue Jays since going 11-8 in 2004.

* Since last Sept. 12, the Orioles are 8-2-1 in their last 11 series and have a record of 22-13 in that time for a winning percentage of .629.

What is your take?: How do feel about the Orioles' 11-7 start? Does the good play have staying power? What has impressed you the most so far, and what concerns you the most moving forward?

Listen in: You can listen to me talk about the Orioles and the O's minor leagues in this podcast with the guys. Check it out.

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