Baseball players are incredibly superstitious. They dont want to talk about hot streaks fearing theyll suddenly turn cold.Early this month, I made what I thought was a convincing case for Nick Markakis as Most Valuable Oriole. Four days later, his regular season was ended when CC Sabathia broke his left thumb.My earlier case for Markakis was based on his outstanding performance as leadoff hitter and how poorly the Orioles had done after he was hurt earlier in the season. In the two weeks that Markakis has been missing, the Orioles have won nine of 12 games. Nate McLouth has done a terrific job as leadoff hitter and Lew Ford, Chris Davis and Endy Chavez have performed adequately in right field.Since Markakis will miss 58 regular season games, that eliminates him from consideration, though I am voting giving him a third-place vote.Matt Wieters, whos handled the pitching staff brilliantly and Wei-Yin Chen are certainly worthy. Chen is the only starter to stay in the rotation for the entire season and has done an outstanding job in his first season in the U.S.Jim Johnson, who set an Orioles team record for saves this weekend, is an excellent choice.Hes been efficient and dependable. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Boston on Sunday that Johnson has fewer strikeouts than saves.Because hes not a spectacular reliever, Johnson doesnt get the acclaim hes earned. Theres no flashy entry or celebration antics. Because hes not spectacular, perhaps he has a better chance of continuing his dominance than many other relievers.Johnson has saved 47 games and won two others. One of the wins came in one of his three blown saves. The Orioles won another and lost just one of the three missed chances.He deserves some support.But, the best choice is Adam Jones.Jones has been remarkably consistent, playing every game. His batting average has held up. After the third day of the season, it never fell below .281, and has been in the high .280s this month.Hes had consecutive hitless games just four times this season, and not since a three-game slide the two games preceding the All-Star Game and the one following it. Jones has 31 home runs, and would have had one more if Bostons Cody Ross hadnt robbed him of one in the first inning of Sundays game. He has 79 runs batted in, 99 runs, 175 hits, 37 doubles and 14 stolen bases, career highs in all except for RBIs. Hes just four away.Jones play in center field has gotten better, too, though he has committed eight errors. His efforts were rewarded with a long-term contract extension in May, removing a potential distraction. If he hadnt been signed, Jones would be questioned endlessly about his status.Jones enjoys interacting with fans on his Twitter account, and seems to fit in Baltimore well. If he continues to play as consistently as he has this year, Jones may become one of the most popular athletes in recent history.A year ago, Jones won it though Wieters and J.J. Hardy got lots of support. Ten players have won the award more than once and Jones could become the first back-to-back winner since Rafael Palmeiro in 1995-96.The Jones-Johnson contest for MVO may be close, but when the American League Most Valuable Player is voted on, Jones is likely to get far more support than Johnson.There are times when a pitcher is more valuable than a position player. This isnt one of these times.Jones has impacted more games more consistently than Johnson. Johnson has been superb. Jones has been superb more often.
Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones?
The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic.
Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount.
The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one.
What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native.
The deal is scheduled to close on June 11.
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BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.
Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.
"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."
J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.
Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.
Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.
"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."
Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.
Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.
"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.
Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.
"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.
The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.
Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.
"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."
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