On July 18th, the Orioles were 2.5 games out of the AL Wild Card spot and 10 full games back on the Yankees for the AL East title. Today, they started the day in possession one of the wild card spots and a single game behind the Yankees for the division lead going 29-15 over that stretch.
While this has been an improbable team effort, there are some great individual efforts that have sparked this run. Here are the Orioles who helped lead that furious charge. Not surprisingly, most of these guys are pitchers.
AVG OBP SLG OPS 2B 3B HR Markakis .331 .390 .489 .879 9 2 5
Nick has been on fire since his return from the DL and is flourishing in his new role as leadoff hitter. He is now the best hitter in the lineup.
AVG OBP SLG OPS 2B 3B HR Reynolds .252 .366 .489 .855 9 0 8
Reynolds has streaked his way to offensive relevance over the past 6 weeks while leading the team in walks, ranks second on the team in ISO and since moving to first base has provided adequate defense. Some of the fans who were clamoring for a playoff spot were also the same ones who were crapping all over Reynolds this season which I always found strange since this team was going to need every bullet in the arsenal to make a run at even a wild card berth. Reynolds has proved to be valuable in that endevour.
IP K BB HR ERA Chen 54.2 51 16 7 3.79
In the absence of Jason Hammel, Chen provided some stability and a center to the revolving door of starters entering and exiting the rotation. Not spectacular but always solid.
IP K BB HR ERA Tillman 52.0 41 17 8 3.81
IP K BB HR ERA Gonzalez 49.0 37 14 8 3.67
IP K BB HR ERA Britton 41.0 37 15 5 4.39
I lump these three guys together because with the rotation is ruins, these three came in on the Norfolk shuttle to throw some quality innings and settle things down. There were some rough spots for sure but the minor league journeyman, the former prospect whose star had faded and the top prospect who was working his way back from injuries have teamed up to give the pitching staff a huge boost.
IP K BB HR ERA Johnson 18.0 37 14 8 3.67
Steve Johnson has come up from AAA to provide some spot starts and long relief for the team. With Tillman's health in question, he will be taking on a larger role in September. Remember when we lost Johnson in the Rule 5 draft a couple of years ago? Thank God we got him back.
IP K BB HR ERA Ayala 19.1 11 4 1 2.79
And why wouldn't we see a bunch of guys from bullpen on this list? Ayala is not spectacular and give up his fair share of hits but he is working enough magic to strand enough runners to be very effective.
IP K BB HR ERA Strop 18.0 18 8 0 2.50
The big fastball and impressive ground ball rate offset the occasional wildness as Strop continues his breakout season.
IP K BB HR ERA O'Day 17.2 18 6 0 0.51
IP K BB HR ERA Patton 11.0 11 2 0 0.00
The unsung heroes of the 'pen whose praises I keep trying to sing. Even though he is now on the DL, look at what Patton had done before he went down. And O'Day has been dominant. I want Patton back and soon.