1. The Orioles are raking. Early on, it looked as if the Orioles were going to take a double-digit beating from the Blue Jays in Thursday's matchup, but a strong middle relief effort from Dylan Bundy and a combination of solo homers (two) and run-scoring outs (three) slowly pried the game from Toronto's grasp to expand Baltimore's lead in the AL East.
With Mark Trumbo leading the American League in home runs with 20, it might be easy to lose track of what has been going on among the rest of the non-Machados in the O's lineup. But since the calendar flipped to June, they've been white-hot at the plate, averaging seven runs a game and pounding 20 homers.
It's coming from all over. Adam Jones has come to life, hitting four homers in a week. They even have seen Pedro Alvarez rebound from an epically cold start, as he has cranked out a 1.061 OPS since June 1, including Thursday night's home run that helped chip away at the Blue Jays' initial lead. And Chris Davis has been quietly, consistently helping crank out offense as a Three True Outcomes hero, with 20 homers, walks and strikeouts in 34 June plate appearances. That has helped boost his season TTO clip beyond 50 percent with 129 all-or-nothing outcomes in 250 times at bat -- and that's still well south of where he can be when he really gets hot.
And frankly, that's how these guys have to roll to win. Last year's Orioles led the majors in terms of their reliance on the home run, getting an MLB-high 47.7 percent of their runs on homers. With an MLB-best 89 bombs this season, they're scoring 50.2 percent of their runs on big flies. What else can you say, but that Earl Weaver would be proud.
With a five-game winning streak and a lead in the AL East, it seems as if nothing is going to take the wind out of the Orioles' sails.
2. Life without Carlos Correa on the field would be sad, bleak and brutal. The Astros' superstar shortstop hurt himself with an awkward step on the first-base bag. The good news is that he's "only" suffering from a sprained ankle and will be day-to-day, but does anybody want to imagine an Astros team without him in the lineup? Called up little more than a year ago, he has hit .270/.347/.478 in 160 games and 700 plate appearances, hitting 30 homers with 100 RBIs. Anything that lets us see less of that is evil. Bad. Ungood. Double-plus ungood.
3. Miguel Gonzalez has locked onto his White Sox gig. In a Gonzo v. Gonzo showdown going up against the Nationals' Gio Gonzalez, Miguel gave the Chicago White Sox exactly the kind of turn that will help him secure his slot as the No. 5 starter in their rotation for the foreseeable future.
Miguel Gonzalez: snaps 7 game streak for White Sox starters without a quality start.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) June 10, 2016
Gonzalez was perfect through four innings (with five K's), out after six frames without going too far into a third time around against an opposing lineup, all to get his first win since July 25. Considering it also came only hours after the White Sox announced their decision to designate Mat Latos for assignment, you can bet they're breathing a bit easier after Gonzalez responded with the shutdown start they needed.
4. If it weren't for bad news, the Twins wouldn't get any. They're already without Miguel Sano for weeks to come, but during their 10-3 loss to the Marlins, they saw both Oswaldo Arcia (foot contusion) and Phil Hughes (line drive to his left/plant knee) go down because of injuries. Both are listed as day-to-day. At least they'll get starting pitcher Kyle Gibson back from the DL this weekend and closer Glen Perkins later this month, but by then you wonder if something else terrible won't go down.
5. The MLB draft is fun. Yeah, I know, there's that command of the obvious again. You'll want to read up on what Keith Law had to say about Thursday night's action as well as Eric Longenhagen's pick-by-pick analysis, but whatever your flavor of fandom, draft day is like delayed-gratification Christmas ... in June. Because let's face it, you're not going to see most of these guys any time soon, but you'll have plenty to dream on, starting now.
As an A's fan -- no secret, that -- I had that brief moment of "yes yes yes, Corey Ray might drop to the A's -- would they take him?" followed by the grudging acknowledgment that the Brewers' new brain trust was smart to snag him at fifth overall, and the A's could at least take solace that A.J. Puk dropped to them at No. 6. As a Chicagoan, I can't help but think the White Sox snagging Miami's Zack Collins is another instance of their having more faith in a guy's receiving skills than other organizations -- remember, that's why they traded for a chunky Tyler Flowers from the Braves. And as a baseball fan, you can scratch your head over the Padres' picks and recognize that here as well as everywhere else, GM A.J. Preller is doing his own thing. How well any of this works out will take years to know, but it's an exercise where every fan gets to indulge in some, "wait till next year ... or three or four after that" daydreams.
Christina Kahrl writes about MLB for ESPN. You can follow her on Twitter.