Put simply, life is pretty sweet for the Orioles at the moment. After kicking off the season with a bang at home, these O’s have carried their red-hot run of form into the first road trip of the season and find themselves in first place going into the second half of April.
Oh…and they own an MLB-best 72.7% win percentage (8-3) to begin the season. Is that good?
After splitting a two-game set in Boston, the Orioles, backed by tremendous starting pitching and a few power surges, went back to the building where their dream died last season and dished out some payback by taking three of four from the slumping Blue Jays.
Oh, and Birdland Power Company is officially back in business after clubbing five homers in a 12-5 win over the ‘Sox on Wednesday, four homers in a 6-4 win over Toronto on Friday, and then another four in Sunday’s 11-4 drubbing of the Jays.
Not only did the offense come through with a few expected fireworks, but the pitching staff, more specifically the starting rotation, was absolutely spectacular versus Toronto. Now the question is whether their sparkling form is the real deal or a mirage…I guess we’ll see, but enjoy it for the moment!
Here’s hoping that the next 151 games are as good as the first 11.
Now, let’s take a look at a few quick takeaways from the past week on the road:
– Dylan Bundy may be becoming the staff ace right in front of our eyes. After allowing just five hits over six scoreless innings in Sunday’s 11-4 win versus Toronto, he now owns a stellar 1.86 ERA to go along with an impressive 0.98 WHIP over his first 19 1/3 innings of the 2017 season. He’s also recorded 17 strikeouts compared to just three walks. Is this the year?
– The Orioles have put together a pure gem of an effort over the past five games (4-1) by pushing 32 runs across the plate and allowing just 16. Not bad, eh?
– I can’t gush about the starting pitching versus Toronto enough. Kevin Gausman recorded his best outing and first win of 2017 by allowing just one run over six innings on Thursday. Wade Miley looked sharp, kept his team in the ballgame and picked up a deserved first win of the season on Friday. Alec Asher was superb in his Orioles debut on Saturday and allowed just a single run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings. Too bad he couldn’t get a single run of support. And then came Bundy’s gem on Sunday. All in all, the quartet posted a stellar 1.85 ERA over 24 1/3 innings versus Toronto. Keep it up, lads!
– After the great weekend series, Orioles starters now own a collective 3.67 ERA. If they can do that all season, you’re looking at a 90-95 win team. And that’s without staff ace Chris Tillman.
– The Orioles’ 32-run, 13-homer outburst over the past five games now sees them ranked second in the AL in home runs (18), with the Texas Rangers (20) in first.
Now, it’s time for the announcement of this week’s “Three Stars:”
Dylan Bundy. If you read this column, you already knew that Bundy was going to be on this list…because he’s the real deal. And he’d be higher up on the list if it wasn’t for what the other two guys did this week.
Jonathan Schoop. The Orioles’ 25-year-old second baseman caught fire this week and in the midst of a five-game hitting streak, Schoop’s average has jumped from .105 to .289. During that span, Schoop has recorded four multi-hit contests while going 9-for-19 (.474) with five runs, three doubles, two homers and five RBI at the plate. Somebody’s going to need to call the doctor if he gets any hotter than he is right now.
Trey Mancini. Say hello to the newest member of Birdland Power Company. After burning Steven Wright and the ‘Sox with two long balls last Wednesday, the Notre Dame kid went ahead and burned the Jays with two more on Sunday. Not only does he lead the team in homers (4), RBI (9), batting average (.364), OBP (.417), SLG (.955) and OPS (1.371), he’s only needed seven games and 22 at-bats to do so.
That’s pretty scary. Now, the million-dollar question arises…How do you keep Mancini in the line-up, if possible at all? Only time will tell.
That’s it for now, Orioles Nation! Here’s to flying high and staying in first place!