The Orioles went 4-2 against Toronto and Boston last week, but who cares? The team won the division! They were even a bit unlucky as they scored 31 runs and allowed 15.
The Orioles are 93-62, first place in the AL East, and no one's taking that away! Their predicted record is 97-65.
Best Hitter / Worst Hitter
With the rotating cast of characters in play this week, only four hitters qualified for this section. Of these, Nelson Cruz boosted his Most Valuable Oriole candidacy with a 160 wRC+ (.400/.400/.520). I should note that Alejandro de Aza wasn't far behind with an excellent 153 wRC+. This week's goat was J.J. Hardy, who compiled a -66 wRC (.053/.100/.053).
Best Start / Worst Start
Wei-Yin Chen gets the best start honors this week. He struck out six and walked one in 5.2 innings against Toronto. He gave up nine hits but nearly 37% were on the ground, and none went over the wall. The week's worst start goes to Bud Norris, which is only funny because no runs scored while he was on the mound. It wasn't for lack of trying, though! Against Toronto he threw 5.1 innings, but struck out only four while walking five. He escaped with no damage because he allowed only two hits and didn't allow a dinger.
Clutch PA of the Week
Adam Jones had this week's clutchiest moment. On Saturday, the Orioles were behind 2-0 and facing fireballer Rubby de la Rosa in the bottom of the third inning. Alejandro de Aza grounded out to start the inning, but Delmon Young singled. Jones came to the plate and crushed the first pitch he saw to deep right-center for a home run. The dinger added 21% of win expectancy to the Orioles, and they indeed went on to win 7-2.
Clutch Relief Appearance of the Week
This one goes to Andrew Miller. The day before Jones's performance, also facing Boston, the teams were tied 3-3 in the top of the 8th inning. Ryan Webb, who'd pitched a perfect 7th, allowed a single to Xander Bogaerts to start the inning. Miller came in to shut the door against his former club. He worked around an error by Jimmy Paredes to retire the side. Unfortunately, the Red Sox won in the 10th on a home run by David Ortiz.
It's the final week of the regular season, folks. The Orioles end 2014 with a four-game set against the Yankees and a three-game series in Toronto.