Heading towards this weekend’s Division Series, Camden Chat writers will be looking at each of the winning months that got the Orioles to where they are right now. Today is June. Catch up by reading March/April and May. July and August will post tomorrow.
Injuries: 6/13: Ryan Mountcastle - vertigo; 6/14: Austin Voth - right elbow discomfort; 6/18: James McCann -sprained ankle; 6/29: Keegan Akin - lower back discomfort.
Worst Loss: 6/23 loss to the Mariners, 13-1. Kyle Gibson was knocked out after just three innings and Keegan Akin gave up an eye-popping seven runs in 0.2 innings. The offense was held to just three hits and one walk, the lone run coming from an Anthony Santander homer. The loss came to a then-below .500 Mariners team.
Best Win: 6/13 win against the Blue Jays, 11-6*. The Orioles beat up on Jays’ free agent acquisition Chris Bassitt, knocking him out after three innings and eight runs. Gunnar Henderson hit a grand slam from the leadoff spot and was joined in the dinger club by Aaron Hicks, Ryan O’Hearn, and Adam Frazier. Dean Kremer gutted through six innings and two runs despite giving up eight hits.
*It’s hard to pick a best win! My honorable mention goes to another win against the Jays just two days later where Tyler Wells pitched 6.2.
Best Position Player (fWAR): Gunnar Henderson, 1.1 WAR. This was Gunnar’s breakout month after a slow start, where he hit .320/.354/.640 with a .416 wOBA. 11 of his 24 hits went for extra bases (6 HR, 4 2B, 1 3B).
Best Pitcher (fWAR): Two-way tie between Kyle Bradish and Félix Bautista, 0.8 WAR. Bradish made five starts with 3.54 ERA/2.83 FIP. Bautista gave up just one run in the entire month. He struck out 22 batters in just 10.2 innings and did not walk a batter. And a personal shoutout to Tyler Wells who fWAR never likes but who had just a 3.03 ERA with over 10 K/9 in five starts.
June was the worst month for the Orioles, wins-wise. They went 13-11 and surrendered more runs than they scored. They did have one five-game win streak from June 8-13 but mostly went back and forth between winning and losing games and they finished the month on a three-game losing streak (that would become four on 7/1).
As we all know, it didn’t end up mattering in the end, but they did lose three games in the standings in June alone. They finished the month 6.5 games out of first place, making their rise in the second half all the more impressive.
June was supposed to be an easier month for the Orioles after they wrapped up the so-called May gauntlet, but it didn’t exactly work out that way. They started the month with a bizarre road trip that took them to San Francisco and Milwaukee.
It started well with a series win against the Giants, the only loss coming when former Oriole Alex Cobb pitched 7.2 shutout innings against his former team. Then, in Milwaukee, they came maybe the closest to being swept as they did all year.
After losing the first two they were down 3-0 after six innings to the Brewers, and the offense came storming back. They scored six runs over the final three innings, topped off by Gunnar Henderson’s go-ahead two-run homer.
That kicked off their best run of the month, a five-game winning streak, and a 5-1 homestand where they swept the Royals and took two out of three from the Blue Jays. That homestand was huge for rookie Gunnar Henderson, who had gotten off to a slow start in April and May. In those five games, Henderson went 12-for-26 (.462) with three home runs and a double. He hit for a .994 OPS overall in the month, his best monthly mark of the season.
By the end of that fantastic homestand, it felt like the Orioles were ready to pop. But they had a disappointing road trip with a series loss to the Cubs and two-game split with the Rays. In those six games, just once did the starting pitcher go beyond five innings.
It was just part of a generally mediocre month for Orioles starting pitching. They ranked 19th out of 30 teams in fWAR for the month. They pitched to a collective 4.68 ERA. The starting pitchers averaged just over five innings pitched per start. The two main goats were Dean Kremer (5.91 ERA) and Kyle Gibson (6.84 ERA).
The bullpen was, overall, much better than the starters. Their collective fWAR ranked 10th in baseball. Bautista was, of course, incredible in June. He made 10 appearances with just one run allowed. He faced 39 batters and struck out 22, holding opponents to just a .443 OPS.
Danny Coulombe also had a good month and Yennier Cano had good results overall, but he struggled game to game. In 10 games (10.2 IP) he gave up just two runs, but he allowed a bunch of baserunners with 12 hits and five walks allowed.
As mentioned above, it was Gunnar Henderson’s month. He got started in June and never looked back. Unfortunately, two other regulars, Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander, took a step back. Santander erased his excellent 1.5 WAR May with a 0 WAR June, His power numbers were okay but he could barely get on base.
Rutschman’s .293 OBP was his worst month of the season, with the next lowest being .336 in August.
Thankfully, none of that ultimately mattered for the Orioles. They still finished with the best record in the American League. June wasn’t their best month, but it was still a heck of a lot better than many months they’ve had in the recent past.