Myriad O’s thoughts: Jones hits 200th; VMart shift; Britton & Julio
Because his teams have never been in the World Series, sometimes it is easy to forget how remarkable of a career Adam Jones has had as an Oriole.
He provided a pretty poignant reminder in the sixth when he hammered a Justin Verlander pitch into the Orioles bullpen to give his club a 1-0 lead that ultimately held up.
It was Jones’ third homer in four games after hitting just one longball previously this season.
It also was the 200th of the 30-year-old’s career and 197th with the Orioles. The other three came while he was with the Seattle Mariners before the 2008 Erik Bedard trade that basically helped reverse the Orioles’ fortunes. (Friday night’s starter, Chris Tillman, was also in that deal).
“I’ve been playing for a while. I think it’s pretty cool; glad we got the win,” Jones said. “I think personal things are all cool and fine and dandy. If you go out there and play and perform every day, things like this tend to happen.”
There have been just six players in modern Orioles’ history (since 1954) to have 200 homers for the club; Jones, in his ninth season with the Orioles, is just three away from joining that list.
And what a list it is, a who’s who of Orioles’ greats. It puts in perspective Jones’ power — and staying-power — with the club.
Here are the six that have hit more than 200 as an Oriole: Cal Ripken Jr., 431; Eddie Murray, 343; Boog Powell, 303; Brooks Robinson, 268: Rafael Palmeiro, 223; Brady Anderson, 209.
Take Brooks out of the list, and Jones has also won more Gold Gloves (four) than any of those other individuals.
“If you think about the other six people, you’re talking about … you’ve got to be good and be wanted in a place for that long. A lot of people in today’s game they move on,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “But he wanted to be here and we wanted him to be here. It’s a product of him being a good player and being with one club for a long period of time.”
So, yeah, Jones has had a darn good Orioles’ career. And he’s signed here through 2018. So, if he averages 25 homers per year, Jones is within reach of passing all but Cal, Eddie and Boog on the all-time list before this contract runs out.
An interesting defensive look
The Orioles had a pretty interesting look in a shift against Detroit’s red-hot Victor Martinez in the fourth.
Ryan Flaherty moved from third into shallow right field. Nothing strange there. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop was about five steps onto the grass in shallow right center. Shortstop Manny Machado was shaded a little toward third base, but he, too, was in the outfield. And so were the three traditional outfielders.
So that means the only player who was actually in the infield for Martinez’s at-bat was first baseman Chris Davis.
It didn’t mean much. Chris Tillman stuck out Martinez in the inning.
They employed the shift again in the sixth, but with two outs, Machado was in the outfield but a little closer to the second base bag in left center. It was great positioning because he fielded the ball around there and threw to second for the inning-ending force. There was no shift in the ninth versus Martinez, when he hit a bouncer to Britton.
Britton ties Julio on O’s all-time saves list
With his 10th save in as many chances this year, Zach Britton now has 83 career saves for the Orioles in a period of about two years. He is now tied for fifth place in club history with Jorge Julio.
OK, that one may not exactly bring confetti down from the warehouse. But the other four on the list are pretty important in club history: Gregg Olson, 160; Jim Johnson, 122; Tippy Martinez, 105; Stu Miller, 100.
One more save, and Britton is in the Top 5 in just two years. That’s the impressive part.
Crabcakes and legendary baseball talk
The crabcakes finally made a return to the press dining room Friday night, after more than a year’s absence. They came back new and improved, which we’re all thankful for in the press box.
But that wasn’t the highlight of dinner for me. I sat my tray down next to veteran broadcaster Keith Mills, who was sitting with two older gentlemen who were talking about a bygone era of Baltimore baseball: official scorer and longtime journalist Jim Henneman and Hall of Famer Al Kaline, a lifelong Tiger.
The two faced each other in the early 1950s while in high school: Henneman, who pitched at my alma mater, Calvert Hall, and Kaline, who was an all-everything at Southern High. I won’t go into their exact conversation – it was just two old friends chatting and reminiscing – but it was cool to be able to be a fly at that table.
It’s not very often when I just shut up and listen; Friday was one of those instances. As I get older, I recognize more and more how cool this job can be at times, especially for a baseball history nerd like myself.
The crabcakes cost $10. I would have paid much more than that for the dinner conversation.
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