If you’re still pumped up about the Orioles pulling off a second walk-off win in as many days last night, you have every right to be.
On the grander scale, the Orioles will now begin their eight-game road trip with some much-needed swagger after notching an impressive 6-3 record over their latest home stand.
But a lot of the discussion as of late is this: how are the Orioles dominating in extra-innings like they have been this season?
In short, the Orioles’ sparkling 9-1 record in extra-inning games has nothing to do with luck. It’s a skill that they’ve crafted over the years as a club. Since the start of the 2012 season, the Orioles have posted an amazing 59-23 record in extra innings. They went 16-2 in extra frames in 2012 and 14-6 in 2014. Coincidentally, the Orioles were playing in October in both seasons. They haven’t had a losing record in extra innings once in the Buck Showalter era.
But what’s making this team so successful when the game goes into “free baseball?”
The Orioles bullpen has been steady at times, but not up to their usual standards for stretches this season.
In extra innings however, they’ve been superb.
Brad Brach has allowed just a single hit over four scoreless innings, while Mychal Givens has allowed the same over two shutout innings. Alec Asher (2.2 IP/ 1 ER), Richard Bleier (1.2 IP, 0 ER) and Logan Verrett (5.0 IP/ 0 ER) have also shined in extra innings this season, allowing just seven hits and one run combined over 9 1/3 innings of extra-inning relief work.
While the Orioles pitching staff has obviously held their own with a 3.44 ERA allowed over 18 1/3 innings of overtime, the Orioles bats seem even more fond of the overtime spotlight.
As a unit, the Orioles are hitting an incredible .375 (30-for-80) in extra-innings this season. They’ve also outscored their opponents 19-7 and out-homered them 5-to-1 during that span.
Mark Trumbo has led the way when the game goes into extras, going a stellar 7-for-11 with five runs, one homer, four RBI and four game-winning hits. Adam Jones has also come up big by going 4-for-9 with an RBI and two game-winning runs. Chris Davis (3-for-9, 2 HR, 3 RBI) single-handedly won a May game in Detroit for the Orioles by cranking two extra-inning homers, as did Welington Castillo (4-for-6, 1 HR, 3 RBI) in mid-May versus Toronto.
Now you can add Trey Mancini (3-for-7, 1 HR, 3 RBI) to this season’s list of Orioles clutch overtime performers after the star rookie hit a game-tying homer in the ninth before walking it off with a three-run shot in the 11th last night.
Before we end this thing, let’s go back to Trumbo for a second and marvel at his excellence during the extra frames this season. Starting with his opening day walk-off homer versus Toronto, he’s also:
– Scored the game-winning run in the tenth inning on a J.J. Hardy RBI single versus the Reds on April 20th.
– Had an eventual game-winning RBI single in the 11th inning versus New York on April 30th. Castillo would add two more later in the inning to make it a 7-4 Orioles victory.
– Notched a 12th-inning walk-off single to score Adam Jones in the Orioles 5-4 win over the Nationals on May 9th.
– Scored Adam Jones (again) with a 10th inning walk-off single to beat the Pirates 6-5 on Tuesday.
Now THAT is clutch.
Maybe this will be the year that the ”Orioles magic” carries us into late October. Crazier things have (and will) happen.
Just don’t call the Birds’ late-inning success “luck.”