Around the Horn
By Ben O'Brien
It has been all about the No. 8 lately for Jeremy Guthrie. One of the singers in the “Orioles Magic” band, he has only received a combined eight runs of support from the Birds offense in his six losses this season. In his last start in Toronto Saturday, the O’s turned that around, scoring eight runs and staking Guthrie to a seven-run lead. The right-hander cruised through seven innings en route to his third win of the season and his first since May 13. Baltimore hadn't opened up as much as a four-run lead for Guthrie before Saturday and had only scored six runs for him on two occasions, both of which turned out to be no-decisions.
He’s going streaking, bring your green hat. Kevin Millar recently enjoyed a seven-game hitting streak in which he went 10-for-27 (.370) with a double, three homers and seven RBIs. Millar upped his home run total to 11 in 62 games this season, which is only six fewer dingers than the 36-year-old hit last season in 140 games. In fact, Millar’s recent hot streak has him tied for 11th in the American League in home runs, topping sluggers like Justin Morneau, Travis Hafner and Alex Rodriguez. The streak was halted Sunday as Toronto’s Roy Halladay stuck out Millar twice in the O’s 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays.
Punch your All-Star ballots for Nick Markakis. The Orioles’ cornerstone has stepped up his game in the last two weeks with the All-Star break looming, raising his average from .247 to .287 in his last 13 contests. In those games, Markakis is batting .410 with nine doubles, two home runs and six RBIs. He also recorded his first four-hit game of the season last Friday in the Birds’ 6-5 win in Toronto. Markakis’ All-Star campaign will continue through the month of June as he hopes to add to his 10 homers and 29 RBIs.
Last week’s "Around the Horn" said Adam Jones “has epitomized the Orioles’ offensive woes this season.” In the four games since, Jones has belted two home runs that were eventual game-winners for the Birds, adding three RBIs and proving he can perform in the clutch. He is out to prove he is not just a prospect, but the real deal. In six of his last nine games, Jones has driven in a run and has notched three multihit games in his last eight contests, upping his RBI total to 26 and his home run total to four.
Aubrey Huff has shown a flare for the dramatic in 2008. Six of the slugger’s nine home runs have either tied the game or put the Orioles in the lead. The veteran designated hitter is working on redeeming himself after his now famous characterization of Baltimore as less than a charming city. Third on the team with 31 RBIs, Huff has a solid .427 slugging percentage and has earned Dave Trembley’s confidence as the team’s cleanup hitter.
Issue 3.24: June 11, 2008