Led by the bullpen, April 2012 tops April 2011 (with update)

The Orioles have had a better first month of the season in 2012 than in 2011, both on the stat sheet and in the standings. After April last year, they were 12-13, in third place and 3 1/2 games out. Now they are 14-9 and in second place, one game out of first.

Here are other comparisons:

* The 2011 team hit .236 and averaged 4.16 runs per game. The team now is batting .249 and scoring 4.17 runs per game.

* The team ERA was 4.47 then and is 3.03 now.

* The rotation ERA was 4.03 last April and is 3.63 now.

* The bullpen ERA was 5.20 then and is 1.83 now.

* The 2011 Orioles hit 27 homers in 25 April games and the team this year hit 30 in 23 games.

The Orioles' bullpen ERA of 1.83 was the second best 'pen ERA ever for the Orioles in April, topped only by the 1966 O's who had a 0.99 April ERA. This is just the fourth time in the last 21 years that an O's team posted a sub 3.00 ERA in April.

The Orioles top the charts right now in the major leagues in bullpen ERA:
1.83 - Orioles
1.98 - Texas
2.00 - New York Yankees

Other notes to pass along:

* The Orioles' recent homestand, where they went 5-1, was the club's best homestand since August 3-9, 2010, when they went 6-1 in Buck Showalter's first seven games as Orioles manager. Since September 12, 2011, the Orioles have gone 9-2-1 in 12 series and are 25-15 in their last 40 games.

* Showalter is one win away from becoming the 58th manager in major league history to win 1,000 games. Of the previous 57 managers to reach 1,000 wins, 29 are in the Hall of Fame and 13 others are not yet eligible for induction. Showalter is seventh among active managers in wins.

* Adam Jones takes a nine-game batting streak into tonight's game. He is hitting .394 (13-for-33) during that stretch with a homer and four RBIs. Meanwhile, J.J. Hardy has just one RBI his last nine games and no multi-hit games in his last 12 contests. Mark Reynolds is 4-for-34 with no RBIs his past 11 games.

Early game update: The Orioles led 3-1 after three innings tonight on a Chris Davis solo homer in the second and a J.J. Hardy two-run shot in the third to back Brian Matusz.

For Davis, it was his fourth homer over his last seven games. Hardy came into tonight with just one RBI his last nine games and no multi-hit games over his past 12 contests.

Minors note: Tyler Townsend of Double-A Bowie left a game tonight with a hamstring injury and will be re-evaluated tomorrow. He has been dogged by hamstring injuries throughout his career.

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