The Orioles had their best week of the season by far. They went 6-1 against Texas, Boston, and Washington. They scored 43 runs and allowed just 24. Their only loss was a ninth-inning walk-off on Saturday where they lost by one run.
At 49-40, the Orioles have the third-best record in the AL and sit alone in first place in the AL East, three games ahead of the Blue Jays. Overall their run differential is +29, best in the division. Their predicted end-of-season record is 88-74.
Best Hitter / Worst Hitter
Nelson Cruz began world-beating again, as he compiled a 256 wRC+: .433/.469/.833 with three home runs. He struck out only three times in 32 PA all week, a fitting performance that was capped off by an All Star selection.
Despite hitting the go-ahead home run in last night's win, Chris Davis is in a tailspin. He hit just .125/.192/.250 for a wRC+ of 19. He struck out 11 times in 26 PA.
Best Start / Worst Start
Kevin Gausman turned in this week's best start when he faced the Red Sox. In 5.1 innings he struck out seven and walked two. 58% of his batted balls were grounders and he did not give up a home run.
Contrast that performance with perennial worst start "winner" Ubaldo Jimenez, who in 3.2 innings matched his career high (again!) with six walks. He also surrendered a home run and struck out just four. I feel like I say this every week, but ... he was lucky to just give up four earned runs.
Clutch PA of the Week
Chris Davis's two-run go-ahead jack last night was key. It not only broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the 11th inning, it set the stage for a six-run rally that sealed the deal for the Orioles.
Clutch Relief Appearance of the Week
How about Brad Brach, ladies and gentlemen? On Sunday against the Red Sox, he entered in the the bottom of the ninth with the game tied at six and worked through the 11th. He allowed a one-out single to Dustin Pedroia and a two-out walk to David Ortiz but no other baserunner.
His work allowed the Orioles to come back and eventually win the game. It was literally the best relief appearance of the entire season so far, surpassing T.J. McFarland's work against the Yankees on June 20th and Preston Guilmet's effort against the Indians on May 22nd.
The Orioles finish up against the Nationals, then face the Yankees before heading into the All Star Break.