Surprised By the Orioles Early Success

Baltimore Orioles

Most are about as surprised at the early success of the Baltimore Orioles as they are that we have a reality TV actor making decisions about a global pandemic. This season in Baltimore started with a roster that was so obscure, Topps didn’t even know whether they should make cards for half of them. But seriously, writers and fans alike are asking, who the hell are these guys?

Orioles Win Back to Back Series

With more than twenty-five percent of the games played in the COVID season, the Orioles are now 11-8, have won back to back road series which includes the current sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies. The Orioles are just a couple of games out of first place in the American League East. Who would have thought?

Timely Hitting

They’ve been hitting, especially late in games when the team is in need of runs. They currently have two of the top 10 hitters in the American League. Jose Iglesias is batting .383, Hanser Alberto is batting .351. and Renato Nunez is currently 14th in all of baseball with a 1.036 OPS.

Bullpen Is The Biggest Improvement

The biggest improvement, so far, has been in the bullpen. Overall, the ERA in the pen in 2019 was 5.84, but this year, so far, it’s improved to 4.72. This includes dramatic improvements from left-hander Paul Fry (5.34 ERA in 2019 to 3.18 this season), Miguel Castro (4.66 in 2019 to 4.00 in 2020), and Mychal Givens (4.47 to 0.00 in 2020).

Even the ERA of the whole pitching staff has dramatically increased. Last season the overall ERA was 5.60, whereas the ERA of the whole staff to this point in the 2020 season is 4.38. Although the starters for the Orioles have gone later in games than last season, the only starter with an ERA less than 4.25 is Alex Cobb.

Orioles manager, Brandon Hyde agrees. “Our pitching, in general, has been a real bright spot for us. Some of the things that we talked about a lot this offseason and in spring training, the first one, they’re doing.”

Orioles Sweep Phillies

In yesterday’s 5-4 win over Philadelphia, the O’s needed Anthony Santander, Rio Ruiz, and Chance Sisco to homer, and a timely, if not amazing stop at third, to get Castro out of a first and third jam in the eighth inning. Andrew McCutchen hit a grounder that Ruiz dove to the second base side to stop, then his three-hop shovel pass to second ended the rally.

The day before, the Orioles called in six relievers to take a see-saw battle that ended after Austin Hays hit an inside the park homer in extra innings and the Phillies couldn’t rally in the bottom of the inning. Reliever Shawn Armstrong got the win in a 10-9 victory.

Thursday the Orioles came from behind again. Down 2-0, they scored four in the fifth inning, and then two, three, and another two in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, and the bullpen came through again, giving up only two runs in the final five innings. Again, the team used a solid start, timely hitting late in the game, and a staunch bullpen to beat the Phillies 11-4 and complete the sweep.

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