Well folks, another week has come and gone in Birdland and one thing remains the same.
Despite all the gut-wrenching lows that the Orioles have gone through as of late, they remain in the heat of the playoff race as we head into the final week of June.
If you listened to half of the world, you’d find it hard to believe that the Orioles are just four games out of first place in the AL East and only 2.5-games out of the wild card.
But here we are, and after snapping into form with back-to-back wins in Tampa, the Orioles should be heading across the Northern border to Toronto buzzing with confidence.
After all, they DID just win as many games on the road over the last two days than they had over the previous seven weeks.
The key now is to build upon their best showing on the road in months. That my friends, is easier said than done.
But here we are. Just a game under .500 and still very much alive. Instead of wondering when the wheels will completely fall off, just enjoy the ride. There’s still 87 games left on the schedule.
Fasten your seat belts, everyone. This ride has yet to even reach its halfway point.
Before we get too carried away, let’s break down the past week of Orioles baseball.
– Finally, fireworks! After being silenced by the Indians’ stellar pitching staff, Orioles sluggers responded in a big way in Tampa by finishing the series with a .299 average as a unit while scoring 21 runs (seven per game) on six home runs.
– The Orioles hitters have been holding up their end of the bargain as of late. Over their last 14 games, they have compiled a .290 batting average while scoring 76 runs (5.4 runs per game) on 23 home runs.
– On a larger scale, the Orioles offense has been more potent than one would expect. Over the last 25 contests, the Orioles are hitting .269 as a unit while scoring five runs per game (125 total) along with an impressive total of 42 home runs.
As good as the offense has been, the pitching staff remains a giant question mark going forward.
– The Orioles starting rotation posted a bloated 8.53 ERA versus Cleveland before following up with a horrid 10.54 ERA versus the Rays. Over the last seventeen games, O’s starters have notched a horrid 9.76 ERA over just 79 1/3 innings.
– The rotation owns a dreadful 7.97 ERA over their last 27 games and 132 innings.
– On a positive note, the Orioles bullpen looks to have put their struggles behind them after finishing the three-game set in Tampa with a stellar 2.19 ERA over 12 1/3 innings. They now have recorded a solid 3.68 ERA over their last seven games and 29 1/3 innings of work.
– In contrast, the bullpen owns a subpar 5.43 ERA over the last seventeen ballgames and a 5.07 ERA over the past 24 games.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s go to the three stars of the week.
Dylan Bundy. Bundy gets the third star of the week for not only coming away with his best start in a month at The Trop, in which he held the Rays to just three runs on five hits over seven solid innings to go along with eight strikeouts, but because he managed to keep the Orioles from breaking the 1924 Phillies 93-year-old record of allowing five runs or more in twenty straight games. It’s bad enough to tie that god awful of a “record.”
Jonathan Schoop. After finishing the four-game clash versus Cleveland 5-for-15 at the dish with a homer and three RBI, the Orioles star second baseman followed up by going 4-for-11 with another home run and four RBI in Tampa. Over his last 28 contests, Schoop is now hitting a remarkable .333 (35-for-105) with nine doubles, ten home runs and 29 RBI.
And somehow……he won’t be an All-Star this season (unless he is added as a reserve). Truly ridiculous.
Trey Mancini. The Orioles star rookie stayed hot versus the Indians by going 5-for-14 at the plate before exploding in Tampa and finishing the three-game set 5-for-11 with a pair of jacks and a straight flush of RBI’s. Mancini will now head to Toronto on a current six-game hitting streak during which he’s gone 10-for-22 (.454) with the two homers and five RBI.
But that only scratches the surface of Mancini’s excellence this season. Over his last 27 games, “Boom Boom” owns a sensational .365 average (35-for-96) with seven home runs and twenty RBI. Even more outstanding, the Notre Dame alum is batting a ridiculous .431 (25-for-58) over his last sixteen contests to go along with five homers and thirteen RBI.
This guy is simply lighting up the world at the moment.