The Orioles say goodbye to one of their most successful Junes in the past 15 years on a down note. For the 2nd day in a row the ever so dominant closer George Sherrill paid for making a bad pitch, and the Orioles lost a heartbreaker 6-5 to the Royals.
It's too bad because Sherrill has been the most reliable pitcher out of the pen for the Orioles; but everybody has rough stretches in a long season.
The two deflating loses shouldn't overshadow how successful June was for the Orioles. They went 15-12 last month. Just one win shy of the 1994 mark of 16 wins in June. Perhaps the most noticeable Orioles accomplishment last month was the surge in offense. The Birds' team batting average for June was .281. That's remarkable considering O's pitchers hit in 9 of the 27 games played. That's always sure to lower an American League team's batting average.
It's a good point in the season to reflect on just how much this club has turned around in one year. This time last year the O's went 8-18 in June and fired manager Sam Perlozzo on June 18th. As a reporter covering both clubs, the experience has been like night and day. The best way to sum it up is that last year's team seemed to enter games hoping for wins. This year's team enters games expecting to win. This year it seems the bar has been raised.
Watching Jamie Walker go on the DL yesterday with what he called arthritic spurs in his throwing elbow and watching Alex Cintron blow out a hamstring running to first, it occurred to me that the Orioles have been very lucky as far as injuries are concerned--until those two bad breaks.
Cintron's injury really straps the O's as far as the shortstop position is concerned. The club is left with Brandon Fahey as their starting shortstop right now. Dave Trembley has acknowledged the club is very much in the market for a shortstop. I'd bet the house the O's will make some sort of trade by July 31st to fill that hole.