This is deservedly so.
However, it is indisputable that Baltimore’s pitching staff has played a critical role in this ball club's magical season so far.
With a 3.75 team ERA through 67 games, this staff has certainly exceeded expectations.
In this slideshow, I will highlight five Orioles hurlers responsible for the turnaround who, in turn, deserve to make the 2012 AL All-Star Team.
One pitcher in this mix may very well surprise you.
What a nice surprise right-hander Jason Hammel has been for the Orioles since coming over from the Colorado Rockies.
This 6’6”, 215-lb hurler from South Carolina has battled through injury to redefine his once rocky career.
Currently, Hammel is seventh in the AL in wins (7), sixth in ERA (2.87) and ninth in WHIP (1.16). His .778 winning percentage is also good for fifth in the AL.
Fresh off a one-hit complete-game shutout over the Atlanta Braves, Hammel undoubtedly deserves to represent the Orioles in Kansas City.
Another terrific surprise for the Orioles has been rookie lefty Wei-Yin Chen.
While not as dominant as Hammel, this Taiwan native has impressed nonetheless.
Like Hammel, Chen is 7-2, but he has a higher, yet respectable, 3.36 ERA.
One guy who is smack in the middle of AL Cy Young talks is closer Jim Johnson.
According to ESPN’s AL Cy Young Predictor, this 28-year-old New Yorker is fifth in the running for this prestigious award.
A model of consistency, Johnson’s numbers are eye-popping.
Through 29 games, he is 1-0 with a 1.21 ERA and a 0.67 WHIP.
Johnson’s 20 saves are good for second in the major leagues. Only Cleveland Indians hurler Chris Perez has more (22).
Anything less than an all-star selection for Johnson this season would be a snub.
Reliever Darren O’Day has been another guy who has found his niche with the Orioles.
This fourth year journeyman has had a terrific season through 30 games.
O’Day is 4-0 with a 1.72 ERA and .080 WHIP. More impressively, O’Day has 32 strikeouts to just 4 walks in 31.1 innings pitched.
While it may be tough for O’Day to earn an all-star selection, he has certainly been an unsung hero for the Birds.
Alright. Maybe Chris Davis is a far-fetched choice to take the mound during this year’s All-Star game.
Just when the Orioles needed Davis the most, this 26-year-old slugger delivered.
In this 17-inning war of attrition at Fenway Park, Davis pitched two scoreless innings while striking out two and earning the win in Baltimore’s 9-6 victory.
While Davis’ clutch pitching is not enough to warrant an all-star appearance, it was certainly an all-star moment.
But if I had to replace Davis, I would pick Pedro Strop, though this too may be a long shot.
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