It has been a tough go of it for the Baltimore Orioles from April through most of May. The batting has been below sub par, and the pitching, even when solid, has no run support. The Orioles did exactly what they were supposed to in the offseason and grabbed starting pitching, but they didn’t address there on base percentage problem; but that comes with the territory when the philosophy is swing big or go home. It is very clear Baltimore has been struggling to put all the facets of the game together, but at least for one weekend stretch, they did just that.
The Orioles hosted the second-to-last place Tampa Bay Rays (16-22) during a four-game weekend series that included a double header, and they pulled a Jekyll and Hyde routine when compared to how they have played earlier this season. Before this series, the Orioles were swinging at way too many pitches in the dirt, and the hitters were looking for the home runs instead of getting on base.
It was only fitting that the Orioles exploded during a grey, cloudy and rainy Baltimore weekend, with a threat of thunderstorms. The offense finally unloaded over the last seven days, with 16 home runs and five players batting over .300, 42 runs and 40 RBI’s. Of course, Manny Machado continued his tear by hitting 4 home runs (including a 6 RBI game against the Rays in the Friday game), putting his name clearly in AL MVP race.
Other Orioles joined the party, with Chance Sisco and Trey Mancini both batting over .330 with 8 RBI’s and 3 home runs in the last week. It is always a delight when the role players of the lineup start to contribute in a big way, as it keeps pitchers honest and provides confidence in the team to rely on the hitter to do his job.
Over the past month, there have been rumblings that Buck Showalter has lost the team; that they finally got tired of his message and maybe they had just given up. During this stretch, Showalter didn’t give up on his guys and he had their back, even when they didn’t deserve it.
The Orioles have now won back-to-back series for the first time all year, and even though they beat the lowly Royals and Rays to do so, the momentum seems present. The team capped off the weekend by destroying the Rays 17-1 on Sunday, with a dominating performance by Dylan Bundy.
It is hard to say that this is the moment where the Orioles start to put it all together, but baseball is all about streaks, and it’s about time they started to get on a good one.