With 16 wins (11 loses), the Baltimore Orioles tied the franchise record for most wins in the month of April. The 2012 team finished with 14 wins so we are ahead of the pace in that regard. As of early today, Baltimore’s Offense is 3rd in the MLB in runs (138), 6th in Batting Average (2.65) and 6th in Slugging (4.29). On the other side of the ball, they rank 4th in fielding percentage and 13th for pitching ERA.
The O’s got key contributions from several guys, but the month of April was especially good to the following players:
Chris Davis: He came into the season more relaxed knowing he was going to play everyday and the numbers show, a home run in each of his first for games and setting the record for RBI in a four game span with 16. He leads the A.L. in home runs with 9, 2nd in RBI(28),1st in Slugging(.728), 4th in BA (.348), 6th in BB (16).
I left the Batting average and Walks bold for a reason. Chris Davis tended to swing and miss a lot last year, but these numbers are impressive for a strike out guy. He is missing less pitches and producing more chances for the guys behind him. It’s unrealistic for him to stay at .348 BA, but if he can stay around .290 consistently watch out American League. As a bonus, he smashed a bat over his leg.
Adam Jones: Just like Davis, Adam started off hot with multi-hit games and at one point keeping his average above .400 for a stretch. He’s understandably cooled down but still carries a respectable .327 average. He has 4 HR and 20 RBI, yes he still has some wild swings and yes he blew a bubble and cost us one game vs the Yankees but nobody is perfect and people need to get over it. It’s still a long season to go.
Manny Machado: The Kid is proving he’s a beast at 3rd base and his hitting is not far behind. This year he has been moved up to the 2 hole and proving that he can hit consistently with a .304 average. He only has 2 home runs but expect him to finish with 18 plus.
Both Nate McLouth and Matt Wieters deserve honorable mention for their hitting. McLouth has been a spark plug in the lead off spot since Roberts went down. He and Nick Markakis have been doing a good job getting on base for Jones and Davis to drive in. And Wieters can’t be forgotten about with his walk off Grand Slam. That and his bat flip was good enough for me.
The O’s are much improved from last year on the defense side, and one man changed it all — Manny Machado. With gold glove hands and a laser rocket arm, since being brought up to man the hot corner he and J.J. Hardy have locked down the left side of the infield. With 3 gold glovers behind them in the OF and Matt Wieters’ gold glove behind the plate shutting down the run game, expect the Orioles to finish within the top ten in Major League Baseball.
In terms of pitching, there needs to be more consistency. Jim Johnson, Brian Matusz, and Darren O’day however have been pretty steady. Johnson leads the A.L with 10 saves and has an era of 0.62. Expect him to stay consistent if kept fresh. Matusz and O’Day both have 4 holds and have been pitching excellent. Matusz has been excelling in his role coming out of the bull pen. He wants to be a starter again but I think he’s found his niche. Both should be consistent throughout the season
People who need to step it up/Injury Concerns:
The DH spot and our 2nd basemen have not been productive at the plate. JJ Hardy is a rock on defense but only batting .200, and same can be said with Matt Wieters. Some how these guys need to find away to get to .250 or above and stay there. It’s kind of sad when your batting .125 (Flaherty) puts to much pressure for the guys at the top of the line up.
Brain Roberts looked promising until he got hurt. Hopefully when he gets back he can stay healthy and try to make a push for his first playoff series in what presumably will be his last year playing for us.
The Whole Starting Pitching Staff. They are near the bottom for quality starts and the 5th spot remains a question mark. All we are asking is for you to throw 6 innings to get to our excellent bull pen. Expect Buck to be bringing people back and fourth from triple-a until somebody can win the job.
Pedro Strop has some excellent stuff, but is not consistent in pressure situations. Please throw a strike.
Dylan Bundy received a plasma shot in his elbow and will be resting for 6 weeks. Hopefully it’s nothing major and he can come back healthy and help us towards the end of the season.
My Thoughts (I’ll keep it short):
Averages will eventually cool down but I’m hoping our star players stay above .285 and our roll players can get up to .250. It’s too early for trade talk but I think we need another power bat to help out Davis and the Marlins love giving away talent. Stanton Anybody? Not sure we have enough ammo to go out and get him but hey, it doesn’t hurt to ask in the coming weeks. Starting pitching will also be an issue at the trade deadline and if Jake Arrieta doesn’t pick it up expect him to be moved.
Overall not a bad month for the Orioles, as Adam Jones would say on twitter: “#StayHungry“.
On to May we go….