Notes from Norfolk

The Triple-A Norfolk Tides are 21-11 over their last 32 games and are now 51-50 on the season. The 32-game run has moved the Tides within six games of first place in their division and within 4 1/2 games of an International League wild card playoff spot.

Norfolk’s 51 wins are just five shy of matching the entire season total from 2011, when Norfolk finished a franchise-worst 56-87. The Tides have used 23 different starting pitchers, two shy of the league record of 25 set by the 2002 and 2004 Buffalo Bisons.

All the Orioles’ minor league teams do a really nice job of providing reporters with up-to-date stats and notes on their players. Today’s Tides game notes show that several players are doing well there, and some of them might help the Orioles before this season is over.

With a single last night, L.J. Hoes has hit safely in 26 of his last 28 games. The 22-year-old Hoes has 13 multi-hit games over that stretch, as he’s hit .387 (43-for-111) with a home run, 16 RBIs and 23 runs scored. At 22-years-old, Hoes is the youngest position player currently in the International League, and his 43 hits since June 18 are tied for the eighth-most among all minor leaguers over that span. Hoes put together a 20-game batting streak during the stretch, the fourth longest in Tides’ history.

Lew Ford has now hit safely in seven straight games, batting .400 (12-for-30) with a home run and six RBIs. For the season, Ford is approximately 30 plate appearances shy of qualifying among IL leaders, where his .341 average would lead the league. Ford has also been rather amazing with runners in scoring position, batting .558 and a stunning .632 (12-for-19) with RISP and two outs.

No, I don’t know when or if the Orioles will call him up, but the legend of Lew lives on, and it seems he’s gathering more fans with each hit.

Nate McLouth
is another Tide now swinging a hot bat. In his last 16 games, McLouth has hit .333 (21-for-63) with seven home runs and 20 RBIs. Over that stretch, McLouth leads the IL in homers (7), RBIs (20) and runs (17), while ranking among IL leaders in OPS (2nd, 1.183) and extra-base hits (T-2nd, 12). The 2008 National League All-Star has 29 RBIs in 36 games since joining Norfolk on June 8.

Norfolk closer Pat Neshek has posted 15 straight scoreless outings, as he’s gone a perfect 7-for-7 in save opportunities while holding opposing batters to a .101 average (6-for-59) over his last 18 innings. Neshek has not yielded a run since May 29, striking out 26 while issuing just two walks over the stretch. Neshek’s 18-inning scoreless streak is Norfolk’s longest this season, and he’s just 8 2/3 innings shy of matching Norfolk’s franchise record, a 26 2/3 inning stretch by Royce Ring during the 2006 season.

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