In desperate need of a boost in morale – and in the standings – after a demoralizing series versus Boston, the Orioles bounced back in the biggest way possible by sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend. Just when it seemed like the ship may be going down, the Orioles have fought back to reclaim their spot in the postseason going into the final week of the regular season.
The Orioles fell into a 2-0 hole early in Friday’s series opener, and despite many chances to level the score, they found themselves six outs away from a fifth straight loss going into the eighth inning.
That’s when the magic took over. Pedro Alvarez’s 22nd home run of the season cut Arizona’s lead in half in the eighth. Then, Matt Wieters would come through with the equalizer on a solo shot to lead off the ninth inning to force extras.
Deep into extras, Mark Trumbo would finally send the fans home happy after cranking a show-stopping walk-off home run to left field off of Matt Koch in the 12th inning. Book a 3-2 comeback win to the Birds, and cue the party music!
The Orioles dramatic and epic walk-off win on Friday undoubtedly lifted the spirits around town, and that surge in momentum proved to translate into the Orioles and Wade Miley cruising to a decisive 6-1 victory on Saturday night.
Despite missing out on a chance to blow the game open in the first inning, the Orioles still took the early 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Manny Machado before doubling their lead on the red-hot J.J. Hardy’s RBI sacrifice fly in the second.
The Orioles added to their lead with a three-run outburst in the fourth, highlighted by yet another bomb from Trey Mancini and a two-run single by Chris Davis, while the surprisingly dominant Miley continued to baffle the Diamondbacks at the plate all night long. Holding a 6-0 lead after Mark Trumbo’s solo shot in the sixth, Miley would carry his shutout bid into the ninth inning and came just one out shy of recording his second career clean sheet before allowing an RBI double to Brandon Drury. After shutting down his former club to the tune of one run on seven hits over 8 2/3 sparkling innings while also striking out 11 batters, Miley left the game to a well-deserved and roaring standing ovation.
Chasing the sweep, Sunday’s game was deadlocked at 0-0 before Hyun Soo Kim’s electrifying go-ahead two-run blast in the second inning gave the O’s the upper hand. After Paul Goldschmidt cut the lead in half on an RBI single in the fourth, Dylan Bundy and the Orioles’ iron-clad trio of Mychal Givens, Brad Brach and Zach Britton would slam the door shut on the D’Backs for the rest of the way en route to a sweep-clinching 2-1 victory.
Just three days after the misery ended, the magic is back and the good times are rolling again. Going into the weekend the Orioles were on the outside looking in, and now they’ve built a 1.5-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for the second and final wild card spot in the American League.
What do we always say? These goonies may not be perfect, but they never say die!
And let’s be honest; good times, bad times…this team’s had its share. But after battling all season long, they are six games away from playing in October.
Let’s take a look at the highlights from the Orioles’ huge weekend:
– Despite their respective recent struggles, the Orioles starting trio consisting of Yovani Gallardo, Wade Miley and Dylan Bundy was nothing short of spectacular versus Arizona. In 19 2/3 combined innings, they registered a stellar 1.83 ERA while racking up 21 combined K’s to just three walks. More of the same please!
– The Orioles bullpen is also hitting top form at the exact right time and finished the series against the D’Backs with just four hits allowed over 10 1/3 scoreless innings along with 14 K’s.
– The impenetrable O’s bullpen now owns a microscopic 0.82 ERA over the past 11 games and an outstanding 1.83 ERA over the last 26 contests. Long story short: good luck against these guys.
– While the Orioles finished the series with just a .227 average at the plate versus the D’Backs and squandered countless scoring opportunities, the Orioles sluggers still managed to save face by coming through with the long ball (what’s new, Scooby doo?) They hit six homers over the three-game set and their MLB-leading total now stands at 245.
– Speaking of their struggles, the Orioles batting a dreadful .200 at the dish over the last nine ballgames while scoring 23 runs (2.5 per game) and hitting .102 (5-for-49) with runners in scoring position during that stretch. Nevermind that for now, a sweep is a sweep! Just don’t let it happen against Toronto, ok?
– After finishing their final 11-game home stand with a 5-6 record, the Orioles have concluded the home fixtures of the regular season with an impressive 50-31 mark, just the 12th time in franchise history that the O’s have posted 50+ home wins in a single season and the second time in the history of Camden Yards. Cheers to a great season, Birdland!
– A star is born? After launching another home run on Saturday, Trey Mancini became just the third player in MLB history with a home run in his first three starts. Now the only question is where to play him next season…
– Lastly, Zach Britton remained a perfect 46-for-46 in save situations after locking up Sunday’s 2-1 victory. His ERA now stands at a miniscule 0.56 and is WHIP stands at a microscopic 0.84. He’s struck out 69 batters and only allowed 36 hits and four runs over 64 1/3 innings. And if that wasn’t enough, hitters are batting forty points below the Mendoza line against the Orioles superstar closer. Can we write his name on the Cy Young award already?
Three wins in the bank, six games left. All that’s left to do now is to finish strong on the road in Toronto and New York.
The promise land is in sight. Full sail ahead!