By now we all know the Nolan Reimold story.
Former high pick and top prospect in the organization that showed so much promise, but continually ended up on the disabled list and nearly lost his career due to two neck surgeries.
Yet he kept coming back, battling. And whenever he has been healthy, he has contributed.
Right now, Reimold is healthy.
Last night’s three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh was the difference-maker in the Orioles’ 6-3 victory against the Chicago White Sox.
But he has done more than just provide one key homer. Reimold is batting .355 with three homers in 31 at-bats. He’s been steady defensively and hustles continually.
The 32-year-old is playing like the Orioles always envisioned he would.
“It’s a good start. Long year, obviously,” Reimold said. “I try to keep it up, do the little things to keep at it and keep some momentum when I get out there.”
Yes, he’s been injured for much of his career, but I always cringe when people say Reimold isn’t tough. Most people would have given up long ago with the injuries he’s faced. Who knows what will happen as the season goes on? But Reimold and his manager are enjoying the ride. The fans should be, too.
“He’s been a real contributor. It’s the first time, I don’t want to say completely healthy, but healthy (enough) to show what he’s capable of doing and remind everybody,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I’m real happy for him because he’s been down a rough road. It’s a real tribute to him to persevere through this. And (I’m) quite proud of the organization for sticking with him. He’s dialed up a lot of things that we’ve needed.”
Jones-Wieters’ DP was play of the night
Obviously, the home run by Reimold gave the Orioles the win against the White Sox Friday, but the double play that ended the sixth is what will stick with me.
Center fielder Adam Jones, who dove for a ball earlier in the inning that he didn’t catch, went aggressively at another liner with the bases loaded and one out.
He caught it waist-high and then unleashed a one-hop strike to catcher Matt Wieters, who made an excellent swipe tag to get Jimmy Rollins attempting to score.
The throw needed to be perfect – especially in such soggy conditions. The snag by Wieters had to be on-point, or the ball could have skipped past him – and potentially allowed another run to score.
It all worked out perfectly.
“Adam’s got the hard part of making it all the way there. And I think the biggest thing I was worried about was the wet night, being able to get the skip. It didn’t really skip on me. It kind of bounced up on me. That made it a little bit easier,” Wieters said. “When Adam’s got that ball, he’s made that play quite a few times since I’ve been here. When you have that kind of experience to go back on, I kind of saw it happening before it happened.”
Afterward, Showalter said he’s never going to fault Jones for playing aggressively – it’s the only way he knows.
“If you think you are going to get Adam to back off from playing that way, you are kidding yourself. He can’t play the game any other way. That’s why you like him so much,” Showalter said. “That’s why you trust him effort-wise, and if you ever take that away from him — that aggressiveness — you might as well not play him.”
Things went Wright on Friday
Wieters was even more effusive in his praise for right-hander Mike Wright, who allowed two runs on five hits and two walks in six innings pitched.
The big righty is getting more and more comfortable with each start. I’ve noticed it from the press box. But, it means a little more when the guy catching Wright’s pitches says it, too.
“(Friday) was, I think, the best he’s thrown any time I’ve caught him. I think he’ll be able to take a lot out of this outing and move forward as to what kind of pitcher he can be,” Wieters said. “For 90 pitches or whatever he threw he was focused as much as I’ve ever seen somebody.”
The key, Wieters said, was that Wright wasn’t in “fastball-happy mode” but used his secondary pitches as well.
“He was able to mix in his breaking ball, and a quality breaking ball,” Wieters said. “And, moving forward, that’s something he’s gonna need to do.”
The Orioles have had to endure terrible, rainy and freezing weather for most of their home games this season.
Yet they are 9-1 so far at Camden Yards.
There’s no real explanation here. It might just be one of those fluky things. But clubs should win more often at home.
It goes to the old adage: Win the games you should win. The Orioles are, and then some. So far, anyway.