The Orioles’ 3-3 week allowed them to keep pace with the Yankees, but there were many tense moments that could have had disastrous results. Two of the team’s victories were of the extra inning variety, which seems to be an advantage for the Orioles.
They are now 7-1 this season after nine innings, and the two wins this past week were desperately needed to halt a potentially troubling slide.
Speaking of 7-1, that was the lead the Orioles were enjoying in the third inning of Tuesday night’s game in Detroit before Wade Miley, Mychal Givens and Brad Brach allowed the Tigers to claw back to take an 8-7 lead.
The Birds were staring their fifth straight one-run loss in the face with two outs in the ninth before Mark Trumbo went yard to tie the game for one of the team’s biggest hits of the year. It took two more home runs by Chris Davis in the extra frames to secure the roller coaster win, but the streak was stopped.
Catcher Welington Castillo came off the DL on a mission to go 10-22 with three homers, including a walk-off one to beat the Jays Friday night in the Orioles other extra-inning victory.
Last week: 3-3 (1-2 at Tigers; 2-1 vs. Blue Jays)
The Red Sox avoided a four-game sweep in Oakland yesterday by winning easily in a 12-3 romp. The win avoided a third straight losing week for the mediocre Sawx and assured them a .500 week.
But Boston’s 22-21 record places them only a half-game from fourth place and doesn’t fit with the pre-determined march to the World Series that all of New England expected for their team of destiny. And how could certain rookie-of-the-year Andrew Benintendi hit .081 (3-for-37) in his last ten games?
Something must be done and Manager John Farrell may now be on the hot seat. Oriole fans witnessed first-hand his bizarre behavior and questionable leadership during the ridiculous beanball attacks on Manny Machado earlier this year.
In Saturday’s game in Oakland, Farrell and starter Drew Pomeranz got into a heated argument in the dugout after he pulled the starter after four innings in a 2-2 game.
Ken Rosenthal reports that Farrell looks like he may have a “lack of control” over the team. If the losses continue and the tension builds, it’s possible that President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski – who, remember, did not hire Farrell – may wish to go in a different direction.
New York Yankees
After a horrible start on the very first American League game of the year, Masahiro Tanaka seemed to turn it around and give the Yankees the quality starts they expected from their ace.
But not this week as Tanaka got bombed, losing twice and lasting a total of 4.2 innings in two starts versus the Astros and Rays. He pitched to a 27.00 ERA allowing 16 hits and seven home runs.
Despite a 5-3 record, his stats for the year include an eye-closing 6.56 ERA and a 1.604 WHIP. He leads the league with 35 earned runs allowed and has given up 13 round-trippers (compared to 22 all of last year).
Given his injury history and earlier concerns about his elbow, Yankee fans should be concerned.
Last week: 3-3 (2-1 at Royals; 1-2 vs. Rays)
Week ahead: 4 games vs. Royals; 3 games vs. Athletics
Tampa Bay Rays
Tampa Bay was the only AL East team to have a winning week, taking two of three from two pretty good teams – the Indians and Yankees. Now 4.5 games off the pace, the Rays are playing solid, balanced baseball. They are third in the AL in ERA and runs scored.
Ace Chris Archer rebounded from a rough start earlier in the week to strike out 12 Yankees yesterday, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the two-run dinger he allowed to Brett Gardner in the 3-2 loss.
Last week: 4-2 (2-1 at Indians; 2-1 vs. Yankees)
Week ahead: 4 games vs. Angels; 3 games at Twins
Toronto Blue Jays
Well, so much for Toronto’s attempt to get back in the AL East race. After a 6-1 record the previous week, the Jays lost three of four to the Braves and two of three in Baltimore. The long-awaited returns of Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson were put on hold for yet another full week, despite hopeful comments from the team.
Second baseman Devon Travis is now swinging a torrid bat after a dismal start at the dish. Going 13-for-23, with six doubles and eight RBIs, Travis completed his wonderful week hitting a three-run homer in the first inning of yesterday’s game and providing all the runs the Jays would need in the 3-2 win over the Orioles.
How bad was Travis’ start? Despite his hot streak, his line for the season is still a disappointing .239/.278/.394.
Last week: 2-5 (0-2 vs. Braves; 1-2 at Braves; 1-2 at Orioles)
Week ahead: 2 games at Brewers; 3 games vs. Rangers