Believe it or not, the Orioles went an astounding 5-1 this week against the Rays, Yankees, and White Sox. Their only loss came on Friday night's walk-off, meaning they were within one pitch of having a six-game winning streak. Impressively, they scored 32 runs against just 15 allowed, shutting out opponents twice. This week's stretch improved their run differential to +11, second best in the AL East.
The team is now 40-35, in second place in the AL East. 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays and one game ahead of the third-place Yankees. Their predicted finish is 85-77.
Best Hitter / Worst Hitter
How about a new name at the top of the list? Steve Pearce led the charge this week with a 291 wRC+, hitting .458/.567/.875 with 2 HR. That was second in all of baseball to the Reds' Devin Mesoraco. Also, I feel like a special second-place mention is warranted here, since we don't often see his name on this list either: Caleb Joseph had a stellar week with 215 wRC+ (.353/.368/.824, with his first two major-league home runs).
Unfortunately the same can't be said of Manny Machado. His struggles have been on display for all the world to see, as he hit just .208/.208/.250 this week (18 wRC+).
Best Start / Worst Start
Kevin Gausman gets the nod here with his start against Tampa Bay. In six innings he struck out five and walked just one to go along with five hits. He did not allow a run. But for the second straight week, Ubaldo Jimenez turned in the week's worst start. In 5.2 innings against the Yankees, he matched his career high with six walks but only struck out three. He didn't give up a dinger but did surrender six hits. He was incredibly, incredibly fortunate to escape with just the one run allowed; in fact until Zach Britton blew the save and the game, Jimenez was in line to get the win.
Clutch PA of the Week
Well I probably don't need to set this up for you too much, as most of us are keenly aware of Chris Davis's pinch-hit walk-off jack last night. The shot boosted the team's win expectancy by 67%, best so far this year for the Orioles.
Clutch Relief Appearance of the Week
In Ubaldo's clunker on Friday, it was T.J. McFarland who kept the game close. McFarland came on in the sixth inning with the bases loaded (thanks to two walks by Jimenez), two outs, the Orioles ahead 2-1, and speedy Brett Gardner at the plate. He not only got Gardner to bounce into a force play at second, he retired the next five batters he faced, all the way into the 8th inning, keeping the score still at 2-1. Considering the context, it was the best performance by a reliever all year.
The Orioles continue the series against the White Sox, then host the Rays followed by the Rangers.