Well folks, we have another week in the books as we enter the final week of April.
And the Orioles have another week of being in first place under their belt.
After capping off an excellent first road trip of the season by taking two of three in The Queen City, the O’s kept it rolling upon returning home by taking two of three against the Red Sox. The results leave the Birds with an outstanding 6-3 record away from Camden Yards and an MLB-Best 12-5 record with only…145 games to go. Still, the view is nice from the top.
The Orioles’ 4-2 record this week was backed by a few doses of small-ball, a big swing or two, a stout bullpen and a sensational run of form by the Orioles starting rotation. We’ll dig more into this later.
And you may want to circle May 1st on your calendar’s for when the O’s make their next trip up to Fenway after Sunday’s transgressions. I’m not saying that there will be a brawl…but I’m not saying that there won’t be one either.
Now, jokes and retaliations aside, let’s take a look at a few takeaways from the past week of Orioles baseball.
– Can we talk about the starting pitching some more already? Before Kevin Gausman‘s first inning nightmare on Sunday, the O’s starters had allowed just four runs over 28 2/3 innings during a four-game win streak, and they still clock in with a stellar 2.12 ERA over the last five games.
– Over the last ten games, the starting rotation has turned in a very solid 3.10 ERA. However, if you erase Gausman’s two rough outings, they’ve given up just eight runs over a 53-inning span in the other eight contests. That, if you were wondering, is good for an incredible 1.36 ERA.
– Lastly, over the last ten games, Orioles starters have allowed one run or fewer in six of them and three or fewer in eight of ten. That, my friends, will get you to the world series.
– The bullpen has also come on strong as of late versus Cincinnati and Boston, having allowed just two runs on nine hits over 17 1/3 innings. That’s good for a stellar 1.04 ERA over the past six contests.
– The offense, however, is in a bit of a slump. Over the last six games, the Orioles have hit just .219 as a team while posting just 15 runs (2.5 per game) and four homers. Their current slump has come right after lighting up the Blue Jays 11-4 on April 16th, but in reality, the O’s offense has been stumbling all season long. They’ve scored 10+ runs twice already, but only 45 in the other 15 ballgames. Not this again…
– Is the Birdland Power Company on strike? Mark Trumbo hasn’t homered in 16 games and Chris Davis has just one in his last ten. The quartet of Trumbo, Davis, Adam Jones and Manny Machado have a combined ten homers compared to 18 at this point last season…Don’t hit the panic button though. You know the power switch is always just a game away with these guys, and hitting is contagious.
Now, it’s time for our three stars of the week!
Brad Brach. With Zach Britton still on the shelf, Brach took the wheel from the O’s star closer and made it look easy by racking up three saves in three nights against the Reds (twice) and the ‘Sox. He retired all nine batters that he faced and struck out two, and I’m sure he could do this every night in the ninth if given the opportunity. He’s a natural.
Wade Miley/Ubaldo Jimenez. I couldn’t decide between the two, so they both made this week’s list after Jimenez gave up just two hits over 7 2/3 innings of shutout baseball in a 2-0 win over the Reds on Wednesday. Miley would then follow suit by tossing a two-hit, one-run gem of an outing over eight innings while racking up 11 K’s in Thursday’s 2-1 win. If these guys can deliver this type of results more often than not for the Birds, we’re looking at a division title-winning squad.
Dylan Bundy. Is there anything that can slow this kid down? Apparently not, because he’s rolling like a runaway train at the moment. After shutting out the Blue Jays over six innings on April 16th, Bundy followed up by mowing down the Red Sox over seven shutout innings on Friday. The O’s rising star now owns a stellar 3-1 record, 1.37 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over his first four starts of 2017.