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Orioles Weekly Wrap: August 14th-20th

One, two, three walkoff wins keep the Orioles in the playoff chase.

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Results and Standings

The Orioles went 5-2 this week against Oakland, the Mets, and Minnesota thanks to three walkoff wins and a 16-run blowout. They scored 44 runs and surrendered 37.

The team is currently 62-58, in third place in the AL East, five games back of the division-leading Yankees, but half a game out of a Wild Card spot. Their predicted end-of-season record is 84-78.

Best Hitter / Worst Hitter

Adam Jones stepped up and led the team this week with an impressive 236 wRC+. He hit .370/.400/.852 with four home runs. (Meanwhile Chris Davis and Gerardo Parra had 3 apiece.) A batting line like that would be something J.J. Hardy would love to have, as he notched a -26 wRC+ with a .115/.148/.154 line. He was the only below-average Orioles hitter this week.

Best Start / Worst Start

Wei-Yin Chen had a very good start this week against the Athletics in the 18-2 blowout. In six innings he struck out seven and didn't walk a batter, although he did give up a dinger.

The worst start of this week ... may be controversial. Miguel Gonzalez certainly didn't have a good night against the Twins. On the surface, he gets this week's dunce cap -- seven earned runs in five innings. But I think the (dis)honor should really go to Chris Tillman. On the surface, his seven innings of two-run ball looks good. But compared to Gonzalez he struck out fewer batters, walked more batters, gave up more home runs, and allowed fewer ground balls.

The reason Tillman allowed so few runs and was allowed to stay in the game so long is because he got more contributions from his defense, particularly with runners on base. Namely, he stranded every single baserunner. I don't think this is a repeatable skill he should be given credit for or really evaluated on. Contrast this with Gonalez's start, in which 2/3 of the runners who reached base against him scored. In the same way I don't credit Tillman for stranding 100% of his runners, I don't fault Gonzalez for stranding only 34% of his.

So while both starts were bad, if I am evaluating the pitcher only, I believe Tillman's start was worse.

Have a Game, Why Don't Ya!

Chris Davis' performance against the Athletics in a 4-3 win on August 15th was one of the best of any Orioles hitter all season. He struck out in his first appearance against starter Chris Bassitt but made up for it with a two-run jack his second time up, bringing the score to 3-2 A's.  The next time up he grounded out, but we all know what happened next. With the game tied at 3 in the bottom of the 9th, and facing Pat Venditte with two outs and a 2-2 count, Davis somehow pulled a low-and-away slider over the right-center fence for a walkoff jack. Overall he increased the O's chances of winning by an impressive 60.7%. That's the second-biggest contribution of any batter all year.

Clutchiest Relief Appearance

Brad Brach has been pitching pretty well lately, and in August 14th he contributed heavily to the Orioles' 8-6 win over Oakland. He was brought in in the top of the 10th with the score tied at 6 and pitched two effective innings, giving up only a double to Coco Crisp and a walk to Mark Canha. No one scored though, and in the bottom of the 13th Manny Machado walked it off with a two-run home run.

Upcoming

The Orioles finish their series against the Twins before heading to Kansas city for four games and then starting a three-game set in Texas against the Rangers.