Red Hot Orioles and Their All-Star Contenders
- Updated: June 22, 2015
If you glance at the standings in the AL East, you may overlook the Orioles due to their third place position. What you may not know, is that Baltimore has been red hot in the month of June, taking 13 of their last 17 games.
Last week they took 3 of 4 from Philadelphia, putting up 19 runs in game 2 of the series. As a follow-up, they beat the Blue Jays 2 of 3 games, and put up an impressive 13 runs in the final game of the series. There’s no doubt the hitting has been most responsible for their success over the past few weeks, but some of it has come from an unlikely source.
Chris Parmelee was called up from Triple-A last Tuesday and provided an immediate spark to the lineup. In the 19—run outburst v. the Phils, he went 4-for-6 with two homers. The next night, he hit another.
Parmelee is certainly playing like an All-Star, but the Birds have others who have been up to the task all season. The Royals may be taking up most of the starting lineup (much to manager Buck Showalter’s dismay), so Baltimore won’t be as well-represented as it should be. Here, though, are the most likely candidates to earn a ticket to Cincinnati in mid-July.
Adam Jones: A prime example of how the Kansas City ballot-stuffing has directly (and wrongly) affected a potential All-Star starter. Nonetheless, the Birds’ center fielder is primed to find a spot on the American League roster, so long as his toe and shoulder injuries heal in time. His 10 home runs, 33 runs driven in and .301 batting average are complemented nicely by his range and throwing arm from center field.
Manny Machado: Coming off an injury-riddled 2014, the third baseman of the present and future in Baltimore hasn’t given much reason for Showalter to fear a regression. He’s embraced his new role as the Orioles leadoff hitter, with 14 homers and an .856 OPS. In a hitting streak that reached seven games on Thursday, Machado has tallied at least two hits in six of them.
Zach Britton: Many teams try to stock their bullpens with capable arms – especially for the postseason run. Count the Orioles as one of the few teams that have done it right. Britton is at the forefront of this successful relief staff. Performing much like he did during the 2014 campaign, the 27-year-old lefty closer doesn’t bowl you over with his save total (18). That may get him left off the AL roster. What would get him on is an ERA of 1.68, a WHIP of 0.98, and just one blown save over 27.2 innings.
Darren O’Day: While Britton does the job in the ninth, O’Day is just as stellar in the eighth. Baltimore’s set-up man, however, trails the Yankees’ Dellin Betances and Kansas City’s Wade Davis in terms of ERA – despite it being a reputable 1.04. But All-Star rosters are usually chocked full of closers, and those two factor may mean Darren is on the outside looking in when pitchers are chosen. That shouldn’t take away from the fact that O’Day is one of the premiere relievers in baseball.
Coming into the All-Star break, the Orioles are a team to keep an eye on. Here are this week’s upcoming matchups: