The Baltimore Orioles currently share first place in the American League East with the Boston Red Sox; both teams hold a 36-25 record as of June 12.
Baltimore Orioles’ Noland Reimold advances safely to third just under the tag of Toronto Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson during the fifth inning of a baseball game, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Although the Orioles suffered two straight losses to the Toronto Blue Jays on June 10 and 11, they have won eight of 11 games this month, including a five-game win streak from June 5 to 9. Baltimore’s offense exploded during that stretch, outscoring opponents 72-53. O’s outfielder Mark Trumbo still leads the league with 20 home runs, while teammates Manny Machado and Chris Davis closely trail him with 16 and 15 home runs, respectively. All three are currently among the top 10 homerun hitters in the league.
Though Davis is considered the best power hitter of the trio, surprisingly, he has the fewest home runs of the three. When Davis inked a $161 million contract this offseason, fans envisioned another year like 2013, when he led the league with 53 homeruns, or 2015, when he hit a league-best 47 homers. Davis has been impatient at the plate at times this season, reaching to swing at balls outside of the strike zone. But he’s also come up with home runs during clutch moments. The latest example was a ninth-inning homer in a 6-5 win over Toronto on June 9.
Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado congratulates teammate Chris Davis after Davis hit a two run home run driving in Machado during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Friday, June 10, 2016, in Toronto. (Fred Thornhill/The Canadian Press via AP)
Davis and Machado also homered against Toronto on June 11, but the Orioles’ pitching staff was blasted by the Blue Jays and Baltimore couldn’t keep up en route to a 11-6 loss.
While the offense grows steadier, Baltimore’s pitching still remains inconsistent. They dominate some games, as was the case in a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on June 6 to 8. The O’s allowed just two runs through three games, helping them sweep the defending World Series champions. But other times, the pitching staff slumped; Orioles pitchers surrendered a total of 15 runs in back-to-back losses over the weekend in Toronto.
Baltimore fans are hoping the emergence of young pitcher Dylan Bundy will help bring some explosiveness and consistency to the staff. Bundy was drafted fourth overall by the Orioles in 2012, but injuries have plagued most of his young career. Now he’s healthy and pitching well. He gave up just one hit and no runs in three innings of work out of the bullpen on June 9. Bundy will stay in the bullpen while he continues to develop, but reports indicate that the team has plans for him to eventually join the starting rotation. Either way, he should be a boost for a pitching staff that desperately needs one.