A couple of impressions about the first month of the baseball season for the Orioles and the Phillies. On this first day of May the Orioles sit a game out of 1st in the A-L East with a 14-9 record. The Orioles have to be one of the early surprises of the 2012 season. The Birds have used some great starting pitching combined with a potent offensive lineup to forge the strong showing. Centerfielder Adam Jones is playing like a guy in the final year of a contract. My guess is at some point the team will come around and hand him a lucrative long-term deal. The surprises for the Orioles have been the additions at starting pitcher. Jason Hammel is 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA...Wei-Yin Chen is 2-0 with a 2.02 ERA and Tommy Hunter is 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA. All 3 have been very effective for Manager Buck Showalter. The bullpen has been terrific as well with reliever Pedro Strop 3-1 with a couple of saves and a 2.08 ERA while closer Jim Johnson has 7 saves and hasn't given up an earned run. Lets see if this holds up.
Now if you are a Phils fans their is cause for concern. The team has scored 2 or fewer runs in well over half their games and I don't care how many Roy Halladay's, Cole Hammels or Vance Worley's you have on your staff you need more run support that what they are getting right now. The Phils are awaiting the return of 1st Baseman Ryan Howard and 2nd baseman Chase Utley. However neither of their top hitters has a target date for returning to the line-up. I think the All-Star break is the most likely time and by then it might be too late. In addition pitcher Cliff Lee has been sidelined with a pulled rib cage muscle...never good for a pitcher. All in all the Phillies fans would like to forget the month of April but the team starts a very difficult stretch to at the beginning of May with 3 games in Atlanta...3 in DC against the Nats and then 3 in New York against the Mets. Right now the 11-12 Phillies are staring up in the standings at all three of these teams.