After getting crushed by the Cubs to start the second half, it would have been easy for the Orioles to throw in the towel on the 2017 season and give in to the pressure of a looming rebuild…
Not just yet. The Orioles had other plans in mind, as evidenced by their impressive four-game sweep of the Rangers. They also held their own against the AL-leading Astros as well, starting with a furious comeback that fell just short on Friday and a hard-fought 9-7 victory on Sunday to avoid the sweep and keep that second wild card spot well within reach.
We should know better than to assume that these Orioles are just going to roll over and give up. They’ve got the heart of a lion, and they never say die.
While a 5-5 home stand could have been a lot sweeter, it’s not all bad considering that it started out on an 0-3 note. And although the division-leading Red Sox are a distant seven games out of sight as we approach the final week of July, the O’s are just 3.5-games out of the wild card picture.
What follows will hold a much heavier meaning. They’ve got a massive three-game set down in Tampa against the squad that’s locked into a tie with the Royals for that second and final wild card slot. The Orioles could be banging on the door by the time we reach the weekend if everything goes to plan.
Or we could be diving deeper into the “Buy/Sell/Stand Pat” debate. Only time will tell. But there’s only one thing that’s on this squad’s mind at the moment, and that’s winning ballgames.
As we mentioned earlier this week, get your popcorn ready. The final plot of the Orioles 2017 season still remains unscripted, and we’re not even close to the climax of the action just yet.
Buckle up. We’ve still got 64 games left to grind it out.
Before we get carried away, let’s take a look back at the highlights from the past week of Orioles baseball.
– While Orioles starters shined en route to sweeping the Rangers by posting a rock-solid 3.13 ERA over 23 innings, they fell back into their old ways against the Astros and finished the series with a 9.00 ERA over 16 innings. They’ve now recorded an 8.04 ERA over the first ten games of the second half and an 8.34 ERA over their last seventeen contests.
– After staying in top form with a 2.08 ERA over thirteen innings versus the Rangers, the Orioles bullpen wasn’t iron-clad by any means versus Houston any finished the series with a 4.91 ERA over eleven innings. Nonetheless, the Orioles bullpen has been stellar for quite some time now as evidenced by their sensational 2.59 ERA over the last seventeen contests and their impressive 3.03 ERA over a current 26-game span.
– Ladies and Gentleman, Birdland Power Company is back in business. After hitting a remarkable .353 as a unit versus the Rangers while pushing across 34 runs (8.5 per game) on ten home runs, they followed up by hitting .294 as a team versus the Astros while scoring 20 runs (6.6 per game) on five homers.
– Over that seven-game span, the Orioles are hitting .328 while putting up 7.7 runs per game (54 total) on 14 homers. They’ve also gone a superb 24-for-63 (.381) with runners in scoring position during that span.
– Over the past 14 ballgames, the Orioles are collectively hitting .295 as a unit and have scored 91 runs (6.5 per game) on 25 home runs. They’re also hitting .318 with runners in scoring position during that stretch.
Now, let’s go to the three stars of the week!
Trey Mancini. After going 5-for-15 with a homer and five RBI versus the Rangers, the Orioles star rookie followed up by going 3-for-11 with a pair of RBI versus Houston. Mancini is now hitting a stellar .308 with eight runs, one home run and nine RBI over his last 17 contests.
Adam Jones. After destroying the Rangers by going 7-for-17 with eight runs, two homers and five RBI, the captain followed up his phenomenal effort by going 6-for-14 with another homer and another five RBI versus the Astros. Over his current six-game hitting streak, Jones has gone a ridiculous 13-for-28 (.464) with ten runs, three homers and ten RBI. Over his last fourteen contests, AJ is hitting a stellar .328 with five home runs and 15 RBI.
Jonathan Schoop. Simply put, he is lighting the world on fire at the moment. After crushing the Rangers by going 7-for-16 with one homer and nine RBI, Schoop followed up by tagging Houston to the tune of 6-for-14 with two home runs and seven RBI. Over his current six-game hitting streak, Jonny has gone an amazing 13-for-27 (.481) with three homers and a whopping 15 RBI. Over his last 20 ballgames, Schoop is hitting a superb .325 with 15 runs, six homers and 21 RBI.
Now that we’re feeling pretty good, let’s keep the good times rolling, eh?