BALTIMORE —The Bowie Baysox have seen some players moving up to help the Baltimore Orioles now that their parent club is in the midst of a full-scale rebuilding effort.
The biggest name is with pitcher Mychal Givens a close second. Mullins saw a lot of playing time in the final six weeks in center field last season but this year, the new front office seems to want the switch-hitter to work more on his right-handed bat skills before handing him that job every day.
Givens came up to the Orioles in 2015 straight from Bowie and has been effective ever since. The Orioles have said they might not be naming a specific closer, but Givens will have his hand in that role.
He threw a solid eighth inning in the 5-3 victory over the Yankees on March 30 and went 1 2/3 innings the following day, coming up one out short of the save while throwing a career-high 49 pitches.
Also, Trey Mancini, who played on the Baysox 2015 championship team, has grown into the top power hitter on the Orioles, had a big series as Baltimore surprised New York by winning two of three.
The Baysox start their season later this week, so it will be interesting to see if the Orioles reach down to them for players or stick with using Triple-A Norfolk more often. Former Bowie manager Gary Kendall has moved up to Norfolk this season, so there’s contacts from the Baysox all over the place.
CAPS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT
The Washington Capitals clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot last week and hope to lock up the Metropolitan Division title this week as the NHL regular season comes to an end.
Washington got back into the playoffs with a 3-2 victory in Carolina on March 28. As of Sunday night, the Capitals had 102 points with three games left and a three-point lead over the New York Islanders.
But Washington scored a big victory two nights later with a 6-3 win over the NHL’s top team (in points), the Tampa Bay Lightning. Alex Ovechkin scored twice, reaching 50 goals in a season for the eighth time.
He is just the third player in history to score at least 50 goals in a season eight times or more. The other two are Mike Bossy and Wayne Gretzky (nine for both).
The victory over Tampa Bay was a big one because if the Capitals make the Eastern Conference finals, they could be playing the Lightning. Washington beat Tampa Bay, four games to three, in last year’s Eastern final.
“This was a pretty good team effort, a pretty good 60 minutes, and guys sticking together, guys playing the right way,” right winger Tom Wilson said on the team’s site. “There is a good feeling in here for sure, and that’s what you want at this time of the year going into such an important time, just playing the right way and playing together. Like I said, that had a playoff feel out there.”
The Capitals were scheduled to play at Florida on April 1 before ending the season with two home games, the last of which will be April 6 versus the Islanders and could have an impact on who wins the Metropolitan Division.
WIZARDS ELIMINATED FROM PLAYOFF CONTENTION
The Washington Wizards’ struggles continued, and they’re officially out of playoff contention.
A victory by the Miami Heat over the Dallas Mavericks on March 28 eliminated the Wizards from any chance at the playoffs. That meant Washington’s final six games had little meaning.
The Wizards fell to Utah (128-124) on March 29 before closing out the road trip after deadline for this edition.
One of the few bright spots for the Wizards has been the play of All-Star guard Bradley Beal. He had to pick up the slack on offense after John Wall’s injury issues, which will keep him out through at least the first part of next season.
Washington coach Scott Brooks told the team’s web site how impressed he’s been with the way Beal keeps pushing.
“He’s hard to guard,” Brooks said. “He does a lot of things better. The guy has gotten better on every aspect of the game…and it’s been great to see. He wants to win, and that’s what I admire about him.”