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.
Entering a weekend series against one of the best teams in baseball, the Orioles looked for their first series win since late April. Even though the team played some good baseball, the search will continue on as Baltimore could only salvage one game.
Looking to break the streak, a three-game stretch with Toronto offers them a chance to change the fortunes.
Here's the latest Orioles and Blue Jays news:
The Orioles made a trade on Monday that netted them right-hander Thomas Eshelman from the Phillies. Sending back international signing bonus slots in return, Baltimore picks up a starter that has a 4.61 ERA in the minors this season. His journey with the Orioles will begin at Triple-A Norfolk.
As he continues to rehab from a knee injury, Mark Trumbo could return to the Major League in the near future. The slugger was in Baltimore Monday to have his knee looked at, and his rehab assignment comes to an end on June 16. So, a decision will be coming soon.
John Means will take the hill on Tuesday looking for his sixth win of the season. Sitting at 5-4 with a 2.67 ERA, Means 2019 has been a solid one. He's coming off six innings of one-run ball against the Rangers, though he did still suffer the loss.
Things may not be going great a the MLB level, but the Blue Jays are getting some good performances from their farm system. One of them came recently from Double-A starter Nate Pearson. With five scoreless innings on Sunday, the 22-year-old continued his stellar 2019 campaign. His K/BB catches your eye, as it sits at 63/8.
David Phelps rehab from Tommy John surgery continues to trend upwards, as he pitched a scoreless frame on both Tuesday and Wednesday in High-A ball.
Trent Thornton will go for Toronto on Tuesday. With a 1-4 record in 13 starts, he'll look to lower his 4.73 ERA. Thornton did pick up a win against the Yankees his last time out, but four earned runs in 5.0 innings led to his ERA actually increasing.
OF Dwight Smith Jr.: Concussion, 7-Day IL
OF DJ Stewart: Ankle, 10-Day IL
SP Alex Cobb: Back, 60-Day IL
SP Nate Karns: Arm, 60-Day IL
DH Mark Trumbo: Knee, 60-Day IL
Tuesday 6/11: Orioles vs. Blue Jays, 7:05 p.m. ET, Orioles Park
Wednesday 6/12: Orioles vs. Blue Jays, 7:00 p.m. ET, Orioles Park
Thursday 6/13: Orioles vs. Blue Jays, 7:00 p.m. ET, Orioles Park
MORE ORIOLES NEWS:
- New in Town: The rundown on first overall pick Adley Rutschman
- Midgame Memories: Stanford outfielder learns he was drafted mid-game
- Chasing Rings: Watch the Orioles' draft picks in the NCAA tournament
When the first returns of the American League preliminary vote for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game came in Monday, there were a few surprises on the list of the top vote-getters in each position.
Amongst the most surprising, Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis received 70,010 votes from fans, the tenth-most votes at his position.
After a rough start to the season, in which the first baseman extended his hitless streak to 54 at-bats, Davis is still struggling to find his groove at the plate, batting .161 with five home runs.
Baltimore outfielder Trey Mancini was the only other Oriole on the list, receiving the 17th-most votes of any AL outfielder (100,457).
Unlike Davis, Mancini is batting .299, the second-highest average in Baltimore behind Hanser Alberto (.311), with 13 homers and 31 RBIs so far.
Other surprises on the list include the Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, who received the tenth-most votes of any American League second baseman (50,065). This season Kipnis has slashed .218/.272/.307, with only two home runs.
Less surprising, the Los Angeles Angels Mike Trout received close to a million votes, the most of any American League ballplayer and the most of any outfielder in the first returns (951,002).
Only three other players had more than 500,000 votes: Houston Astros outfielder George Springer (776,352), New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (737,107) and Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman (630,159).
All four of the top vote-getters have 17 or more home runs, including Sanchez' 19 blasts, which are tied for the second-most in the American League.
Primary voting for the 2019 MLB All-Star Game ends at 4 p.m. ET on Friday, June 21.