Orioles Weekly Wrap: June 10th - June 16th

Rick Yeatts

The offense struggled this week but the pitching stepped up to keep the O's in the thick of it.

Results

The Orioles went 3-4 against AL East foes Boston, Toronto, and Tampa Bay. They scored 19 runs (!) and allowed 19.

Standings

The Orioles are 35-34, third place in the AL East, five games back and 3.5 games ahead of fourth-place Boston. Their predicted finish is 82-80.

Best Hitter / Worst Hitter

As you can guess by the 19 runs scored in seven games (the team was shut out twice), the offense wasn't clicking this week. Adam Jones led the team yet again, this time with a 115 wRC+ (.231/.259/.538 with 2 HR). The week's worst hitter was Nick Markakis. He plunged down to a 46 wRC+, with a batting line of .185/.267/.259. Yuck.

Best Pitcher / Worst Pitcher

Finding this week's best pitcher was tough. The Orioles held their opponents to 19 runs this week, which is great. A lot of credit has to go to the starting pitching. I hemmed and hawed but decided that Chris Tillman was this week's best pitcher. He pitched 13 innings in two starts and gave up just four runs. He walked three batters and didn't give up a home run, although he struck out only three. You could argue that Wei-Yin Chen, who struck out 10 in 13.2 innings, was this week's best pitcher and I wouldn't disagree.

But I think we'd all agree that Ubaldo Jimenez was this week's worst starting pitcher. He wasn't awful; he pitched six innings in his start and gave up just two runs. But he walked five batters and struck out only two. This year, Jimenez is one of the worst starting pitchers in terms of getting hitters to chase his pitches. According to PITCHF/X he throws more than half his pitches out of the zone yet hitters chase just 24% of the time. On a rate basis of pitches outside the zone to out-of-zone swings, that is sixth-worst among major-league starters.

In the bullpen, Zach Britton continued to get it done. In three innings he walked one and struck out three. He did not allow a fly ball or a line drive. Brian Matusz was this week's worst reliever. He was actually okay until last night, when he gave up the two-run shot to Jerry Sands that put Tampa Bay in front for good. That was enough to put a serious dent in his WPA for the week.

Clutch PA of the Week

You saw this week's clutch PA if you tuned in to the Rays game last night. The Orioles were behind 3-2 in the top of the eighth. Joe Maddon called on erstwhile closer Grant Balfour to see if he still had his shutdown magic, and maybe because he wanted to see how Balfour would pitch against the team that rejected him this offseason.

Well, Nick Markakis and Manny Machado both singled. Adam Jones flew out, but that was all Maddon needed to see. He replaced Balfour with Jake McGee, who immediately walked Chris Davis. With the bases loaded, Nelson Cruz stepped to the plate and delivered an RBI single to tie the game at 3.

Clutch Relief Appearance of the Week

Zach Britton earned this week's award with a regular save against Toronto on June 14th. The Orioles were leading 3-2 heading into the top of the 9th, with Anthony Gose, Jose Reyes, and Melky Cabrera due up. Britton set them down 1-2-3 and the game was over. It wasn't exactly clutch, but it was the best relief outing this week.

Upcoming Week

The Orioles finish up against Tampa Bay, then head to New York to face the Yankees. After that they'll return home to take on the White Sox.

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