As we are now in the final weeks of the minor league’s 2015 season, the “dog days” of summer for the minors, we take a look at how Virginia’s teams are doing in their push for a spot in their respective league’s playoffs. Such a discussion has to start, or course, with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides (Orioles) club.
The Tides have won 7 of their last 10, have a record of 64-44. stand 6 games ahead in the IL’s South Division, and have the best record in the entire IL.
What has boosted the Tides this year? Probably their pitching. Despite the active shuttle between Hampton Roads and Charm City, there have been some amazing performances by Tides players to put them among IL leaders. Three of the top 8 ERAs in the IL are Tides pitchers-Zach Davies (5th-2.84-since traded to Brewers), Chris Jones (7th-3.00), UVA alum and Midlothian-native Tyler Wilson (8th-3.05). Mike Wright, who has gotten 7 starts in Baltimore this year, has posted an 8-0 record with the Tides and a 2.41 ERA (not enough innings to qualify for league leadership status). 30-yr old career minor leaguer Eddie Gamboa, a 2008 Orioles draft choice, has struggled to an ERA north of 4, but has still won 8 games for Norfolk this year. Led by these guys, the Tides have an IL-best 2.93 ERA, which includes 13 SHO wins. In a testament to how they are doing as a team, only one of their shutouts this year has been a CG. And speaking of their team effort, Naval Academy grad Oliver Drake is third in the league with 17 saves for the Tides.
While you and I both know that minor league baseball is about player development, the Tides are winning right now and have a shot at their first division title since 2005 and their first as an Orioles affiliate. That being said, Norfolk’s run right now means the future is bright in Baltimore.
Stay tuned, Tides and Orioles fans, this will be a fun stretch run.