The Detroit Tigers recently went through a stretch of 17 home games that spanned the end of the first half and start of the second going 16-1. They entered the Orioles series with a 16-3 record in their last 19 home games.
But the Orioles went to Comerica Park, lost the first game of that series, but came back to win the next two. In the road trip before that, the Orioles went 2-1 both at New York and on the road vs. Tampa Bay.
That is three straight road series wins against AL contending clubs in the Yankees, Rays and Tigers. Impressive. The Orioles are 11-4 in their last 15 road games and are eight games over .500 away from Camden Yards this season. They have a better road than home record.
The Orioles’ road record the last five years:
With 21 road games to play, the Orioles have at least three more road wins than in any season since they went 34-47 in 2007.
There sure is a toughness about the 2012 Orioles and maybe that road record is a measure of that as much as anything, like having the ability to come back from five runs down and win, or consistently winning the close ones.
Some other impressions from the weekend:
* Darren O’Day’s performance in the seventh inning yesterday was very impressive. He sure showed poise when an error on a possible double-play ball left him with runners on a first and second and no outs with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder coming up. He struck out Cabrera and got an inning-ending DP ball from Fielder. That right there was Detroit’s big chance to win the series and O’Day stopped them cold.
* The biggest surprise of the weekend was Zach Britton. I was among those questioning if the decision to start Britton when Steve Johnson was available was the right one. But at a time when he probably had more doubters than ever, Britton provided seven shutout innings. A loss there, and Detroit takes the series. He delivered a big-time performance.
* J.J. Hardy deserves a Gold Glove. He probably doesn’t have enough flash or reputation to win one, but I’ll take his glove over just about any out there. I don’t care if he made a low throw yesterday. I can still picture him ranging up the middle to start that highlight-reel double play on Saturday. He’s steady, consistent and just very, very good each and every day.
The Orioles seem to be meeting just about every challenge this year and here comes the latest: A series at Texas against a Rangers team that took three of four at Camden Yards in early May and outscored the Orioles 36-15 in that series.
Texas had 52 hits in those games including 10 doubles and 10 homers. In the second game of that series, Josh Hamilton went 5-for-5 with four homers and eight RBIs, setting an AL record with 18 total bases in that game.
So what are your impressions from the weekend and how will the Orioles do in Texas?