Over the last few games, Nate McLouth, at least for a few days, must be looking like the player that Pittsburgh Pirates fans saw for an entire season in 2008.
That year, he batted .276 with a National League-leading 46 doubles along with 26 homers, 94 RBIs and an OPS of .853. He was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner that season. He was just 26 then and probably seemed like a future star.
But fast forward to this year and McLouth's performance had fallen off to the point where he was released by the Pirates when he was batting just .140 in May.
Who knows exactly what happened to get him from where he was in 2008 to batting .140 but he seems to have turned things around with the Orioles. He went back to Triple-A when they sent him to Norfolk and now the talent he once flashed in the majors is being seen again.
He's got some speed and can steal a base. He's got some pop and can hit a game-winning homer, like he did on Monday, and he can play some defense. McLouth brings some tools to the table and the Orioles are seeing some of those now.
Over his last eight games, he is batting .333 (10-for-30) with a double, a triple, two homers and seven RBIs. In 21 games with the club, he is batting .274 with two homers, nine RBIs and a .798 OPS.
McLouth was a nice pick-up by Dan Duquette and has solidified left field right now for the Orioles.
In the minors, Dylan Bundy picked up his second Double-A win in three Bowie starts as the Baysox beat Erie 4-2 last night. Bundy gave up two earned runs and four hits over 5 1/3 innings and is now 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA with Bowie.
"I made some quality pitches with guys on base tonight and that is an important thing," Bundy said. "My fastball was lively tonight, curveball was decent later in the game and changeup was there the whole night. In the last two innings, I started missing two or three inches off the plate and they were being patient up there."
Kyler Newby struck out the side in the ninth to get his 18th save in 19 chances as Bowie won its sixth game in a row overall and its 10th straight at home.
With the win and Richmond's loss, Bowie is now just one win or one Richmond loss from clinching its first Eastern League playoff berth since 2008.
Meanwhile, Single-A Frederick's bid to return to the Carolina League playoffs suffered a blow last night when the Keys lost 1-0 at Salem. Frederick is two games behind Wilmington with six to play for the second-half division title.
Tyler Wilson pitched a gem in the loss for Frederick, going seven innings and giving up just three hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. Over his last two starts, Wilson has fanned 22 without a walk over 15 innings.
Trent Howard and Kevin Gausman are due to start the next two nights at Salem as the Keys look to keep their playoff hopes alive.