Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
For me, the Orioles are the biggest surprise in the AL East. There is no way I expected them to be in 2nd place. I’ll be even more surprised if they continue to be within striking distance in August and September. They’ve ridden a solid offense that is only going to get better once they all click together. Their defense has been great. If (that’s a big “if”) their pitching can turn around and keep them in games, they’ll have no trouble challenging for the title.
The Orioles are supposed to have a high octane offense. They certainly showed it against the Blue Jays this week. They may actually be waking up the machine to begin their climb up the AL East ladder. They are hitting .269, which puts them 3rd in the AL. They have scored 105 runs (6th) on 218 hits (4th) that’s almost 9.5 hits per game! What is interesting is they’ve only hit 16 HR (12th). They have the most triples in the AL with 6. They also have hit 44 2B (7th). They’ve done all of this while we were wondering when the offense was going to click. Maybe we just weren’t paying attention. Thanks to his recent games against the Jays, Nelson Cruz is providing a lot of bang for the Orioles discounted buck. He leads the team with 23 RBI. Matt Wieters is also hitting .338. Once the O’s start being more patient (they sit in 13th spot with just 59 walks), the rest of the AL East better look out.
The defense has been quite good. They have only committed 9 errors (3rd) while turning 69 double plays (3rd). And, they’ve done all of this without the phenom- Manny Machado. Did I mention he’s on his way back. It’ll only serve to help an already steady (.989% -good for 3rd) defense. When he comes back, he’ll probably shift the rookie Jonathan Schoop back to 2B where he may be more comfortable. Schoop has committed 4 of the 9 errors this season. Remove his numbers and they’ve only had 5 miscues this month.