Weekly Recap: Orioles off to a good start
Despite low expectations from their fans and several in the media, the Baltimore Orioles were defiant of those expectations, at least for the first week of the season, winning four of their seven games.
The Orioles used the age-old formula of pitching, defense, and timely hitting to win both of their road series in New York and Toronto.
Two big question marks coming out of Spring Training were starting pitching and defense, yet Baltimore’s ERA from their starters is 3.34, and they have committed only two errors.
The Orioles have also turned 10 double-plays in this young season, which is tied for first in MLB with two other clubs.
Outfielder Trey Mancini is off to a good start with 10 hits in 28 at-bats, including three home runs. Infielder Jonathan Villar also has 10 hits, launching two over the fences.
Perhaps the biggest surprise this first week has been catcher Jesus Sucre. Sucre, a veteran, has been solid behind the plate and has helped the young pitchers navigate the tough lineups of the Yankees and Blue Jays.
Manager Brandon Hyde’s style has been different than that of his predecessor, Buck Showalter.
Hyde has started runners, employed the bunt, used bullpen arms in different roles, and utilized an “opener,” among other things.
The team has worked counts, taken walks, and is not relying on power to score runs like in years past.
Things have not been all smooth early on for the team. The bullpen has struggled to hold leads and has a 6.32 ERA, allowing 10 home runs.
Though first baseman, Chris Davis, is the focus of fan frustration with his 0-for-17, 11 strikeout start, he is hardly the only Oriole struggling at the plate early on.
Outfielder Cedric Mullins has just one hit in 17 at-bats, and shortstop Richie Martin is just 2-for-18.
Regardless of their struggles at the plate, all three players have continued to excel in the field, saving several runs this week by flashing the leather.
The Orioles will continue their three-game homestead against the Yankees on Saturday, and then will welcome in the Oakland Athletics for four games starting on Monday.
Expectations for the Orioles’ season may still remain low, and the season is very young, but for one week the Orioles gave their fans a reason to cheer and believe.