Just as it seemed as if the Orioles were set to break on through to the other side… another week has passed, and it still hasn’t happened…yet.
But make no mistake about it: these Orioles are geared up for the home stretch, and they’re not going down without a fight.
After taking just one of three in Anaheim, the Orioles bounced back to split the four-game set in Oakland over the weekend. While a 3-4 record over the first seven games of their ten-game swing out on the West Coast could have been better, the Orioles will head to Seattle still very much alive in the wild card chase.
The Orioles’ main dilemma at the moment is that since nobody has ran away with the wild card spot, they’re now locked into a six-horse race for one playoff spot. Not only do they need to keep the notches in the win column coming, they’ll need some help as well.
44 games remain on the schedule, and the promise land is just 2.5-games out of reach. If the bats remain hot, the starters stay in-form and the bullpen remains sturdy, there’s no reason to doubt that these Orioles will at least be right in contention until the fat lady sings.
But this is not the time to look too far ahead into the future.
Next on the calendar is a prime match-up versus another playoff contender, the Seattle Mariners. These head-to-head match-ups against the teams that you’re trying to knock out of the playoff picture always seem to be the toughest of challenges.
The Orioles must find a way to bury their demons on the road this season and come away with a few critical wins if they want to keep banging at the door.
Here’s to returning to Birdland on a high note…
Before we get too carried away, let’s take a look at the O’s West Coast trip so far.
– The starting rotation has gone through one heck of a turnaround over the last few weeks. After putting in a solid effort in Anaheim and an impressive showing in Oakland, the Orioles starters have posted a stout 3.06 ERA over their last sixteen games and 97 innings of work. Over the past 27 games, the starters own a decent 4.09 ERA over 158 1/3 innings.
– The bullpen wasn’t bulletproof over the weekend versus the A’s, but they have been lately. The Orioles relievers have recorded a rock-solid 3.36 ERA over the last thirty ballgames and a 3.66 ERA over the last seventeen.
– After finishing the series in Oakland with an outstanding .333 average, 26 runs (6.5 per game), six homers and a .341 average with runners in scoring position, it seems as if the Orioles dynamic offense is hitting top-form at exactly the right time.
– Over the last seventeen games, the Orioles are hitting .290 as a unit while scoring 5.3 runs per game (90 total) along with 26 homers and a .336 average with runners in scoring position.
– Over the last 34 contests, the Orioles are hitting .288 at the plate while scoring 5.6 runs per game (191 total) to go with 54 home runs and a .315 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Now, let’s go to our ”three stars” of the week!
Manny Machado. From slugging a grand slam in the opening game of the West Coast trip to ending the series in Oakland having gone 7-for-19 (.368) with a home run and four RBI, Machado has been on fire for quite some time now.
Over his last 27 contests, Machado is hitting a sensational .342 at the dish with four home runs and 21 RBI. Over his first thirteen games in August, the Orioles superstar is hitting a ridiculous .351 with ten runs, four doubles, four homers and sixteen RBI.
Dylan Bundy. Not only did Bundy silence the Angels to just two runs on five hits over seven stellar innings, he then followed up by allowing three runs on seven hits over six innings versus the Athletics to pick up his third straight win. Oh, and he racked up ten strikeouts in each of his starts this week. Not common for the O’s!
Dylan Bundy is the first #Orioles pitcher with consecutive double-digit strikeout games since Mike Mussina in July 1999.
— Ryan M. Spaeder (@theaceofspaeder) August 13, 2017
Dylan Bundy is also the first player not named Mike Mussina to pitch consecutive 10+ K games since 1979. https://t.co/QjHCFcd3Vl
— O's Stats & Facts (@BirdlandStats) August 13, 2017
Over his last three outings, Bundy has gone 3-0 with a stellar 2.14 ERA while racking up 25 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Tim Beckham. Sure, his twelve-game hit streak came to an end on Sunday…and the negatives stop there. The newest member of the Orioles is having the biggest impact on the team in recent times, and has given new meaning to the phrase “hit the ground running.”
Beckham went 4-for-11 versus the Angels and then followed up by crushing Oakland and finishing the series having gone 8-for-18 at the plate with six runs, three doubles and three RBI.
Over his first thirteen games as an Oriole, Beckham has gone an astronomical 26-for-53 (.491) at the dish with fourteen runs, seven doubles, two triples, three homers and nine RBI.