Welcome to the show, Xavier Avery. Do what you've been doing in Norfolk and we'll get along fine. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The dark past is ever an anchor on our potential to kick back and enjoy the present season. On this Mothers Day it is no different, with the reminder that the Orioles are 1-6 in their last 7 games on Mothers Day. We all remember the infamous loss in Boston. That particular 9th inning I watched on a TV in a restaurant while my family was waiting to be seated for dinner; after the meltdown happened, my grandmother announced that Sam Perlozzo should be fired and then promptly knocked back two rum and cokes. I had never seen her drink before.
I'm still not entirely sure who these Orioles are or how long they can keep it going, but one thing that is for certain is that they are not the Orioles you remember who roll over and get beaten. The bogeymen of the AL East are not the colossal titans that you remember, either. The once-seemingly-invulnerable giants of the past are now mortal. Of the much-discussed 15-game gauntlet, the Orioles have already managed eight wins. They will come out of it with a better record (in games over .500) than they started it with. They have also already logged the series win against the Rays. Today they go for the sweep.
The star of the day, at least before the game starts, will be Xavier Avery. The 22 year old is being called up to the big leagues today and he's being thrown right into the mix. He's leading off. This could be Joe Jordan's finest hour: one of his toolsy outfielders finally made good. Avery was looking worthy of the promotion based on his stats through 33 games this year: batting .273/.373/.469 in Norfolk with 6 doubles, 2 triples and 5 home runs. Small sample size, surely, but it's the first year he's ever shown power and patience at the plate. Now he'll get to test his skills against the best baseball players in the world. Good luck, Xavier!
Our pitching matchup today features "Big Game" James Shields facing off against Jake Arrieta. Last year and the year before, I made fun of calling shields Big Game James, but after last year when he pitched 249.1 innings with a 1.043 WHIP, he's spared from further mockery. Arrieta will counter with his command-and-control mystery - how good will it be today? Who knows? Hopefully good enough.
Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there in Birdland.