Talking Behind Their Backs: Twins
The Orioles completed their first sweep since last June by taking care of the Minnesota Twins in a two-game set.
Baltimore got an assist from Mother Nature in the first game as four rain delays ultimately forced the game to be called after 5 2/3 innings with the Orioles up 4-1. The game was likely pushed through because the Twins are not scheduled to come back to Baltimore. Nick Markakis and Luke Scott each drove in two runs to serve as the Orioles' offense.
Game 2 of the series actually seemed to serve as a bit of a chance at redemption for many much-maligned parts of the team. George Sherrill had just about lost his job as closer but turned in his best outing of the season to get the save. After working with pitching coach Rick Kranitz, Sherrill was able to get back on top of the ball and even pick up his velocity causing Manager Dave Trembley to note, "that's probably the best Sherrill has thrown this spring."
While George Sherrill was rediscovering the stuff that made him an All Star last season, the bottom part of the Orioles lineup was working to be productive major league players at the plate. Gregg Zaun and Lou Montanez are each batting under .200 while Ty Wigginton and Cesar Izturis are both hitting under .250 yet the four of them combined to go 6 for 14. For Baltimore, the sudden production from the Nos. 6 through 9 hitters came on a perfect night as, for the first time all season, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis all failed to collect a hit.
Baltimore will look to build off the slight momentum built from the Minnesota mini series as the Orioles host the New York Yankees.
In some ways Friday night's series opener may resemble Opening Day as it will again pit CC Sabathia against Jeremy Guthrie and there will also be a swirling media circus.
Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is expected to make his first appearance of the season since having hip surgery. Obviously with the lingering stench of steroids still hanging on Rodriguez thanks to a new book, all eyes will be on him but will all the fans' attention be there as well? The last time the Yankees were in town, the Baltimore faithful worked hard to boo first baseman Mark Teixeira but will that hometown hatred still be stewing?
Regardless, the Orioles will be facing a Yankees team that is struggling having lost five in a row with Mariano Rivera giving up back-to-back home runs for the first time of his career Thursday night. Who knows, maybe the Orioles can find a way to win their second straight series, how do you see this weekend series playing itself out?
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