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Birds Up, O's Down - 2014 Week 23

Who's hot and who's not from September 8 - 14

Newcomer Alejandro De Aza wants playoff baseball!
Newcomer Alejandro De Aza wants playoff baseball!
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Brach Downnew_medium September hasn't been his best month, but he's still useful.  Continues to vulture wins and has improved his record to 7-1.  Having some issues with lefties (.330 vs .264 OBP, 17 vs. 32 strikeouts), but Buck has been using him in appropriate situations more often than not.  Has already been tagged for 5 earned runs in 4.2 September innings after allowing just 15 in his previous 51.
Zach Britton Upnew_medium An unearned run got him his just his 4th blown save of the year, but Britton bounced back to record his 34th save.  He's been death on lefties this season, allowing just a .376 OPS against.
Wei-Yin Chen Upnew_medium Tossed 7 innings of three hit ball on Wednesday against the Boston Red Sox.  A solo homer to Xander Bogaerts accounted for the lone earned run.  Chen recorded the win, upping his total to a team-high 15 - two ahead of Norris.
Kevin Gausman Upnew_medium Continues to scatter hits left and right, but gets the job done.  Gausman allowed 7 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings on Friday vs. the New York Yankees, but recorded 7 strikeouts and did not allow a run.  Fangraphs seems to think he's pretty one-dimension and most of his changeup success comes from batters prepping for his elite fastball velocity.  That might be true, but he's still getting a really good swing rate and swinging strike rate on a pitch that's not even in the strike zone 30 percent of the time.  Gausman has also recorded a team-best 3.30 FIP (among starters).
Miguel Gonzalez Upnew_medium Certainly no stranger to walks, as he allowed 6 of them in 12.1 innings this week (and his FIP certainly shows that), but he also allowed just 3 earned runs in the same span (includes one shut-out game).  Riding a streak of 6 quality starts.
Tommy Hunter Upnew_medium Notched 2.2 scoreless innings this week, including his 8th hold of the season.  Has mostly replaced his cutter with a two-seam fastball and it appears to have had a positive effect on his GB%, which has topped 50% (up from 39 percent last season).
Ubaldo Jimenez Has yet to pitch in the month of September, but will receive a spot start in tomorrow's game, as the rotation has been pushed around thanks to Friday's double-header.  It would also appear that Jimenez will not make the Orioles playoff roster.
Brian Matusz Made just two appearances, which totaled 1 inning of work.  Matusz has recorded the worst FIP and WAR of any regularly appearing Orioles reliever during the 2014 campaign.  He's still being asked to face far too many RHB (107 TBF-LHB vs. 106 TBF-RHB) and that's clearly an issue.  He hasn't been phenomenal vs. the lefty this season, but far better than he has against RHB.
T.J. McFarland T.J. has seen only two innings in the month of September after some July/August struggles.  He's been hit-or-miss (no pun intended) all season, as he struggled in May, was lights out in June, and then struggled again in July and August.  TJ has pitched fewer innings in his second season as an Oriole, but his statistics have been slightly improved.
Evan Meek Upnew_medium Part of the September call-up group and recorded his first innings since June.  No fireworks yet, as he picked up 2.2 scoreless.  His -0.4 WAR is a team-worst, but he's pitched just 19.2 innings.
Andrew Miller Upnew_medium He's been simply on fire.  His line for the week?  Why it's 3 innings pitched, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, and 8 strikeouts.  In his last four appearances (4 innings), he's recorded 11 strikeouts.  Miller has pitched just 16.2 innings since getting acquired by the O's (that's 3 fewer than Evan Meek, for those of you keeping score at home), but he's tied with Zach Britton for the WAR lead among O's relievers.
Bud Norris Upnew_medium Bud was lights-out in the second half of Friday's double-header against the Yankees.  Likely saw something a 2nd string lineup, as the early game went to extras, but Norris pitched 7 strong innings, allowing just 3 hits and striking out 10 batters.  Could be interesting to see who between Norris, Gausman, and Gonzalez would get the ball in game 3 of a playoff series (behind Tillman and Chen).
Darren O'Day Recorded his 5th win and 3rd save of the year over the week, but was tagged for a solo homer.  The Orioles have reported O'Day has been dealing with some hip and leg problems over the past few weeks, which might have contributed to his diminished September workload.  He's surpassed his 2013 workload and has been slightly more valuable in 2014.
Joe Saunders Downnew_medium We'll always have that 2012 Wild Card.
Chris Tillman Upnew_medium #stafface does what a #stafface does.  Tillman leads the Orioles with 2.2 WAR and 194.1 innings pitched after 6.2 innings against the Yankees on Sunday.  He's not a swing and miss guy, but he has upped his GB% from seasons past.
Ryan Webb Upnew_medium Recorded 3 innings of scoreless relief.  He hasn't pitched as much as other Oriole relievers, but he's still up to 0.9 WAR, which is tied for third (along with O'Day) in the bullpen.
Steve Clevenger Simply a defensive replacement since his September call-up.  2014 has been a career-best season at the plate for Steve (.231/.294/.359), making it great that the O's found other suitable replacements for the injured Wieters....
Nick Hundley Downnew_medium It's amazing that this guy was once a 3.3 WAR player.  He's pretty solid on defense, but his bat has not been entirely adequate.  Hundley was 2-12 in three games this week.
Caleb Joseph Downnew_medium Production from the catcher spot was limited all around this week, as Joseph was 3-14 in four games.  All three hits (which included a homer) came in the same game.  That said, Joseph's defense has been pretty impressive, considering he was generally projected to be an offense-first catcher.
Chris Davis Downnew_medium If more than one down arrow would fit in the box, that's what he'd get.  His 25 game suspension comes at a fairly bad time.
Ryan Flaherty Upnew_medium Flaherty has been filling in a super-utility guy with injuries all around.  He played SS, 2B, and 1B this week among a short-handed infield.  Ryan was 7-17, including 3 doubles and 3 walks.  He's actually been mildly hot in September, as he's gone 11-31 (four doubles, four walks).  He's also played the entire infield during that span.
J.J. Hardy His September contributions have been limited thanks to a bad back.  Hardy has been in and out of the lineup, but picked up 3 hits in 11 trips over the weekend.  Injuries seem to have taken a toll on his bat over 2014, but he's played exquisite defense and sits third on the team with 3.7 WAR.
Kelly Johnson Upnew_medium A late trade to the Orioles for injury fill-in.  Johnson was just 4-16 (.250) at the plate, but all 4 hits were doubles including a walk-off against the Yankees on Sunday evening.
Jimmy Paredes Upnew_medium His defense at 3B has been pretty scary, but his bat has actually played nicely.  He went 4-10 with 2 doubles this week.  In the month of September, Paredes has hit .354 (6-17) and has a walk-off hit.
Steve Pearce Upnew_medium Had an injury scare in early September, but did not miss much time.  He came back firing and had 9 hits in 24 trips this week.  His four doubles, four walks, and home run were a solid contribution.  Pearce is second on the Orioles with 4.4 WAR.
Jonathan Schoop Downnew_medium The O's young infielder continues to play incredibly streaky baseball.  He began the month of September on an absolute tear, but has since cooled off (6-46 - a .128 BA).
Quintin Berry The September call-up hasn't played in the field much, but has seen action as a pinch runner from time to time.
Nelson Cruz Upnew_medium Cruz dominated the months of April and May, but really fell off of a cliff following.  He appears to be back, as he's gone 19-56 in September with 4 homers, 5 doubles, 6 walks, and 13 RBI (including 7 in one game!).  This week, Nelson hit 8 for 29 with 4 doubles.
Alejandro De Aza Upnew_medium De Aza was a late add for the O's and his hit safely in 9 of his 10 games with the team.  Over the week, he was 10-33 with 2 homers, 6 RBI, and 4 walks.  It's possible he could supplant Lough on the playoff roster.
Adam Jones The Orioles WAR leader was 7-27 this week, with 4 doubles and 5 RBI.  This pretty much sums up his entire September - adequate, but not elite.  His bat will play a pivotal role in the Orioles postseason future, especially with the Davis suspension and the potential for a limited Hardy.
David Lough Lough was just 0-3, as De Aza picked up the majority of the 4th OF duties.
Nick Markakis Downnew_medium The Orioles leadoff man struggled this week and has throughout the month of September.  He's just 8-49 this month.
Delmon Young 1-5 in very limited duty.
Disabled List
Manny Machado Out for the year following knee surgery.
Matt Wieters Seems weird to be announcing a post-season roster missing the likes of Wieters and Machado.