Right off of the heels of a disheartening tenure on the West Coast, the Orioles had a prime chance to make up for it in a massive way but failed to seize the opportunity this weekend versus the Angels.
A series win would have been not only massive for the team morale coming into a lengthy stand at home, but a chance to cut into a 2.5-game deficit for the final playoff spot in the AL has come and gone. Instead, the Orioles now stand at four games out of the playoff picture and the sand in the hourglass is running out in a hurry.
Granted, 38 games is a long way to go in the course of a major league season. We’ve seen some crazy stuff go down during September in recent memory around the league, and it’s truly not over until the proverbial fat lady sings.
However, the sense of urgency must be doubled in Birdland. Not that these guys aren’t scrapping as it is, but the time to win and climb up the standings must be now if they want a chance to play in October. They still have a ton of games to play at home over the next few weeks, and they’ve got to take advantage of it.
The season may be 162 games long, but the Orioles time is now. As far as truly being in this for the home stretch, it’s now or never.
Let’s take a look at the highlights (and the lowlights) of the past week of Orioles baseball:
– After reeling off quite a surprising and excellent run of form lately, Orioles starters crashed back down to earth hard this week. A 6.18 ERA in the road trip finale, followed by a 10.28 ERA over fourteen innings of work versus Anaheim sums up just about all you need to know. As a whole, the O’s starting rotation ended the week with an 8.10 ERA over thirty innings of work. Giving up eleven homers to the Angels didn’t help matters much.
– Despite faltering (barely) on Sunday, the Orioles bullpen was otherwise magnificent versus Anaheim and finished the series having allowed just a single run over thirteen innings. They also allowed just two over nine innings versus the Mariners, and as a result own a sparkling 1.23 ERA over their last six contests.
– The bullpen has been sensational for a while now and boasts a stellar 2.52 ERA over their last eleven games and a 2.88 ERA over the last 23. On a larger scale, they own a 2.96 ERA over the last 36 games, and a superb 2.73 ERA over the past 43.
– Despite being silenced for a few nights this week, the Orioles sluggers put on a few impressive shows nonetheless. As a result, the O’s have now hit .304 while scoring 5.8 runs per game over their last ten contests. You’d think we’d be better than 4-6 with numbers like that, but I digress…
– The Orioles offense has been pretty impressive during the latter part of the summer. Over the past 23 games, the Orioles have hit .288 as a unit while scoring 5.3 runs per game during that span as well. Over the last forty ballgames, the Orioles are mashing .288 at the plate while driving in 5.6 runs a clip. Not to mention that they’ve hit 66 long balls over that span, too.
Let’s go to the three stars of the week!
Jonathan Schoop. While Schoop isn’t single-handedly carrying the line-up anymore, the O’s star second baseman is starting to rev back up again. Schoop finished the series in the Emerald City by going 4-for-13 at the plate with a homer and an RBI. He then followed up by having a huge game in a losing effort on Sunday and finished the series versus the Angels having gone 4-for-12 at the dish with a pair of RBI.
Over his last 32 games, Schoop is hitting a sensational .328 to go along with eight homers and 33 RBI.
Tim Beckham. Beckham was at it again in Seattle and went 6-for-13 with two home runs and three RBI to add to the folklore. He then played a huge part in the Orioles comeback win over Anaheim on Friday, and picked up three more hits and scored four runs over the weekend.
Through his first nineteen games in Baltimore, Beckham is clubbing an incredible .437 with 21 runs, eight doubles, five homers and twelve RBI. He’s been on an All-World level since joining the team.
Manny Machado. Was there ever even any doubt? Machado crushed the Mariners with a grand slam in the series opener in Seattle, then torched the Angels upon returning home with another grand salami, this time of the walk-off variety, and the Orioles star third baseman has now been arguably the hottest player in baseball this month.
Over his last 33 ballgames, Machado is hitting an amazing .350 with eight homers and 33 RBI. Over his last eight, he’s gone 15-for-36 (.416) at the plate with five home runs and fifteen RBI.
Simply stated, he’s lighting the world on fire at the moment.