Coming off of a sweep at the hands of the New York Mets, the Baltimore Orioles were able to end their slump on June 22 as they got by the Washington Nationals by the score of 2-1. Jason Hammel picked up his eighth win of the year for the Orioles, while Jim Johnson converted for his 21st save.
It was going to be hard for Jason Hammel to top his previous outing against the Atlanta Braves with a complete game one-hitter, but he came close against the Nationals. Jason threw eight solid innings for the ballclub while giving up only one run on five hits to go along with a season-high ten strikeouts as well. Hammel has actually gotten better as the season has progressed, and I would be surprised if he was not chosen for the upcoming All-Star game considering that he has an 8-2 record with a 2.61 ERA. Hammel will be a key component for the Orioles this year if they want to stay in contention all the way into September, and hopefully he can stay consistent for a team that desperately needs him to be the ace of their staff.
The offensive player of the game for the Orioles on June 22 was Mark Reynolds, who went 1 for 3 with a home run to left field. Before the long ball Reynolds had gone hitless in his last nine at-bats, and even with the performance his average is still at a paltry .229 on the year. Granted, Reynolds isn't known for being a player who hits for average, but he only has six home runs on the year as well. With Chris Davis faltering at the plate right now the Orioles need someone to step it up in his place, and Reynolds could certainly be that player.
The Baltimore Orioles will look to continue their momentum on June 23 as Wei-Yin Chen takes the mound against Edwin Jackson in the night game. Like Hammel, Chen has been a great surprise for the Orioles this year with a 7-2 record with a 3.36 ERA, and is coming off of a solid performance against the Braves as well. Jackson has been just as good, if not better, although his 3-4 record on the year may say otherwise. It is certainly going to be another pitcher's duel in this game, but I think if the Orioles can get some power out of their lineup like they did in the first game they should have the advantage.
Ryan Kekoufski has been following the Baltimore Orioles since Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak, and still enjoys watching games at Camden Yards from time to time.