The O's went 5-2, winning three straight against Tampa Bay and the next two against Houston. The streak ended with a loss against Houston, followed by another against Detroit.
The wins against Tampa Bay and Houston were great, but all the wins were decided by just a few runs. The team scored 24 runs this week and allowed 23. Getting a 5-2 week out of that seems pretty lucky, but I know Orioles fans will take it!
The Orioles sit in first place in the AL East with a 20-16 record. The welcome hot streak increased their predicted win total to 86, a total that's looking increasingly playoff-bound in the AL East this year.
Best Hitter / Worst Hitter
Adam Jones broke out in a big way this week, hitting three home runs for a 146 wRC+ (.310/.300/.621). And while Nelson Cruz has been great so far this year, he had a terrible week, with a dinger but not much else. He had a 29 wRC+(.179/.207/.286).
Best Pitcher / Worst Pitcher
Surprisingly, the Orioles' pitchers weren't all that great this week. But Ryan Webb gets the nod for his steady relief work. He only pitched in three games but did not allow a run and struck out a handful of batters. More importantly though, he got key outs late in games. On May 7th he was brought in to protect a two-run lead over Tampa Bay and retired the side in order. On the 8th he was brought in with a 3-1 lead with runners on second and third and didn't allow a run. Finally on the 10th he gave the Orioles a chance to win by pitching in the 10th inning when the score was tied.
The worst pitcher this week was Tommy Hunter. Because he pitches the 9th inning, his outings are always going to be more important than those of your average relief pitcher. Even accounting for that, though, he was the worst pitcher on the staff this week. And by "worst" I mean, "hurts the team's chances of winning", which is odd to say about someone who is your closer. While Hunter has been getting saves, he's been allowing far too many baserunners for fans' comfort levels.
On the 6th, up 5-3, he loaded the bases with two outs before striking out Logan Forsythe. On the 7th, protecting a 4-3 lead, he allowed three hits, including a double and a run, before ending the game. (Perhaps this is why Buck skipped him on the 8th.) On the 9th, up 4-2, he allowed a double to Dexter Fowler and a walk to Marc Krauss before Chris Carter brought in a run on a groundout. And he blew a save on the 10th by allowing a couple baserunners, and then the game-tying and go-ahead runs, to the Astros.
Clutch PA of the Week
So many close victories means there were several opportunities for clutchiness this week, but no one came up bigger than Delmon Young did on May 10th against Houston. Because of the aforementioned blown save, the Orioles were trailing the Astros 4-3 in the bottom of the 9th. With two outs, Jonathan Schoop and Nick Markakis singled against closer Anthony Bass, who then walked Manny Machado to load the bases. Buck pinch-hit for David Lough with Young, who delivered the biggest hit of the week with a single through the infield, scoring Schoop and tying the game. The Orioles would go on to win it in the bottom of the 10th on another clutch hit, a double by Steve Clevenger.
Team Steve has been seeing a lot of playing time and they've been making the most of it. Steve Pearce went into full-on beast mode this past week. He notched 264 wRC+ (.353/.476/.882) on the strength of three home runs, three singles, and four walks. His compatriot Steve Clevenger, who is now platooning with Caleb Joseph, also bashed the ball (192 wRC+, .421/.421/.632). With Matt Wieters headed to the DL, Clevenger figures to get a lot more playing time.
Your Moment of Zen
It's not often you see batter's interference; treasure it when you do.