Despite how it may feel after the sweep by the Cubs, the Orioles are in first place, they have a six-game lead over the Yankees with 34 left to play, and the team is still playing at a 92-win pace.
Best Hitter / Worst Hitter
Steve Pearce led the team's offense (such as it was) this week with a 189 wRC+. That was helped by a .320/.320/.720 batting line, with two homers. Chris Davis struggled mightily, putting up (or should I say, down?) a -33 wRC+ (.091/.130/.136), with 8 K's in 23 PA. (Not that he was alone; Jonathan Schoop and Nick Markakis each struck out seven times.)
Best Start / Worst Start
Chris Tillman pitched a fantastic game against the White Sox; 8 IP, 9 K, BB, HR, 41% ground balls. He allowed just one earned run. Miguel Gonzalez did okay in his start against the Cubs, but it was the worst start from the rotation this week (not counting Bud Norris's two-inning appearance): 6.1 IP, 3 K, HR, 6 H, 20% ground balls.
Clutch PA of the Week
This past week didn't feature many clutch PAs; either the team was ahead most of the time, or the Orioles failed to get it done at the plate. On August 18th against the White Sox, the Orioles were up 1-0 against ace lefty Chris Sale. Nick Markakis was on first base with two outs. Steve Pearce drove an 0-1 pitch into deep right center for a double, scoring Markakis and doubling the O's lead. Unfortunately he was thrown out trying to score on an Adam Jones single.
Clutch Relief Appearance of the Week
On August 20th, the Orioles were clinging to a one-run lead over the White Sox in the bottom of the 8th inning. Wei-Yin Chen had pitched well but, with one out, had given up back-to-back singles to Alexei Ramirez and Alejandro de Aza.
With the tying and go-ahead runs on base, slugger Jose Abreu stepped to the plate and Buck Showalter brought in Darren O'Day. The result? A strikeout swinging to get O's fans' fists pumping. The next batter up was Avisail Garcia, who'd driven in all three White Sox runs. O'Day struck him out also, preserving the lead and setting up a Zach Britton groundball/groundball/strikeout save.
The Orioles return home from their road trip for a long homestand. The first two visitors will be Tampa Bay and Minnesota.