A four-game win streak propelled the Baltimore Orioles to the top of the entire MLB standings as the “Birds” held a league-best 12-4 record, as of April 22.
Baltimore won four consecutive games from April 19-22, winning two straight against both the Cincinnati Reds (9-9) and Boston Red Sox (10-8).
Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Jayson Aquino throws to the Boston Red Sox in the first inning of a baseball game in Baltimore, Saturday, April 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The Orioles fueled their streak with outstanding defense, allowing just three total runs scored through those four games. And each pitcher in the starting rotation did an outstanding job in their respective starts, beginning with Ubaldo Jimenez in a 2-0 win in Cincinnati on April 19. Jimenez lasted deep into the eighth inning without surrendering more than two hits before reliever Brad Brach closed the game for his first save of the season.
Wade Miley was also stellar in his start on April 20, giving up just two hits and one run through eight full innings in a 2-1 victory. Filling in for an injured Zach Britton as closer, Brach picked up his second straight save in the game, then earned his third straight save the next night in a 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox in Baltimore. Dylan Bundy got the start, pitching seven scoreless innings while giving up just six hits.
Jayson Aquino got the spot-start on Saturday and pitched fairly well, allowing six hits and two runs through six full innings. Brach earned a rest for this game as manager Buck Showhalter went to reliever Darren O’Day to close out a 4-2 win.
The four-game win streak suggests that Baltimore may have come up with a solid winning formula that they’re hoping will last throughout the entirety of a 162-game season. The Orioles got off to a hot-winning streak like this to start the season last year. The only difference is last year, they were winning with offense; this year, they’re winning with defense.
Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado stands in the infield during a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox in Baltimore, Friday, April 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Last year’s Orioles offense was so explosive, it fizzled out after the All-Star break. Baltimore started losing games in the second half of 2016 because it didn’t know how to win when the home runs weren’t raining in. But that’s all changed in 2017. No longer do the Orioles need to score eight runs to win a ball game. They’re consistently beating opponents with only two runs needed to be scored. And it’s all because their starting pitching has finally caught up with their bullpen. If this lasts, it could turn out to be an amazing season for the Orioles.