By David Toronto
The home run. This day and age in the MLB, clubs really rely on the long ball. The Baltimore Orioles did not disappoint by blasting 232 homeruns this season. The Orioles offense is one of the best in the entire MLB. The stellar infield consists of 2x Gold Glove winner Manny Machado, 2x home run leader Chris Davis, former #1 overall pick Tim Beckham, and the new breakout second baseman Jonathan Schoop, Schoop had an all-star season, he batted .293 with 32 home runs and also 105 RBIs. Superstar third baseman, and Schoops’ best friend, Manny Machado was a great leader all season and made a valiant effort to push this team into the second wildcard spot for the 2017-2018 pennant chase. Machado lead the team in homeruns with 33, not to mention his 95 RBI’s. The slugger himself “Crush” Davis, had a solid 26 homer season even though he was on the DL for a month of the Orioles season. He is still the king of strikeouts and with nearly 200 he is 3rd in the MLB in that category. The new shortstop acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Beckham, has flourished in Camden Yards. Twenty seven year old Beckham has hit 10 home runs and 26 RBIs so far batting leadoff. Beckham will be a staple in Baltimore with the aging J.J Hardy on the last legs of his career.
The O’s outfield is no joke either. New 11-million dollar man Mark Trumbo didn’t live up to his 47 homerun season in 2016. He only had 23 home runs and 65 RBI’s in his 2017- 2018 campaign as the Orioles right fielder. The rookie Tre Mancini is making his case for A.L Rookie of the year. Mancini batted .293 with 24 homers and 78 RBIs. Mancini, or Boom-Boom, has been the spark plug the Orioles needed to make a run for the postseason. Also, Adam Jones has been holding down center field for the O’s for nine years and he shows no signs of slowing down. The 5x All-Star batted .285 with 26 home runs and 73 RBIs. Jones has had an amazing streak of seven consecutive seasons with 20 or more home runs, with a career high 33 in 2013. The Orioles offense continues to impress and will keep doing more of the same with the bright young players in their clubhouse.
The Orioles pitching has been the main problem for the club. Their bullpen has been one of the best the past couple of years with the emergence of Michael Givens and Brad Brach. But Orioles favorites Darren O’Day and Zach Britton have been outstanding out of the bullpen for many years. But most of the starters for the Orioles have not been good at all in the 2017-2018 season. Chris Tillman battled injuries this year and had a record of 1-7. Wade Miley, the southpaw acquired last year from the Seattle Mariners, had an up and down season with a record of 8-15. Ubaldo Jiménz is not much better either with the record of 6-11. There are a few bright spots in the Orioles starting rotation.
One bright spot is Kevin Gausman, Gausman had a slow start but he has really picked it up down the stretch with a record of 11-12. The ace of this rotation, Dylan Bundy, has been the best starting pitcher for the Orioles this year. With a record of 13-9 he has been mostly dominate this year. Bundy has been getting extra rest with the crowded rotation ever since the trade for Jeremy Helickson the day before the MLB trade deadline. Although the Orioles lost swiss-army knife Hyun-Soo Kim in the deal, Bundy has excelled with time off. He pitched for a complete game against the Seattle Mariners only allowing 1 hit while striking out 12 batters.
The postseason chances slipped away from the Orioles this year. There is a bright future with lots of young talent still waiting to be called up from the minor leagues. Mitchell Walker, A freshman at Glenelg High School, believes, “The Orioles will be a great team in the future. They had a good season but it could have been better. I have been a fan all my life and I’m looking forward to what this team has to offer.” Orioles fans have a lot to look forward to from the home run hitting rookies, to the fireball throwing young pitchers. This team has only one goal going forward , a third World Series Championship.