The month of June has flown on by and the Orioles walked away with a winning record of 16-12. Despite the wins though, the final week of the month may come back to haunt them later in the season as the Birds missed numerous opportunities against sub-.500 opponents in the White Sox and Rays. This failure to seize the opportunity cost them the chance to overtake the struggling Blue Jays for first in the American League East.
The month produced many talking points, with some players dominating and others slumping. It also saw some drama, with one such incident being the Manny Machado bat-throwing saga that dragged on far too long before being resolved.
From a statistical standpoint there were a lot of things worth noting as in the month of June, the Orioles hit 46 home runs, the most of any MLB team, allowed 30 home runs, the fourth-highest of any MLB team, and committed 16 errors at a rate of 0.57 per game, much worse than their rate of 0.33 in 2013.
Individually, there were a number of impressive performances from unlikely types, with the hot offensive form of Steve Pearce, Delmon Young and David Lough really providing a boost to the Orioles in clutch situations. The same could be said for the bullpen duo of Ryan Webb and T.J. McFarland, who both had fantastic months.
Who was hot?
* Delmon Young - .417 average, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs
* Steve Pearce - .361 average, 5 home runs, 13 RBIs
* Adam Jones - .348 average, 9 home runs, 20 RBIs
* David Lough - .296 average, 2 home runs, 5 RBIs
* Ryan Webb - 12 innings, 1.50 ERA, 0.83 WHIP
* T.J. McFarland - 15 2/3 innings, 0.57 ERA, 0.89 WHIP
Young’s success came on the back of some brilliant management from Buck Showalter, who frequently turned to the offseason recruit in clutch situations and it paid dividends. Pearce, who started the season as a backup utility player/designated hitter, forced his way into the lineup and spent a lot of the month hitting in the No. 2 spot. Webb and McFarland were fringe players just a month ago, but their impressive outings during June solidified their spots in the bullpen and they are now two of the more reliable arms.
While some of the less-heralded stars stepped up, a number of more experienced and higher profile Orioles really struggled. The starting duo of Miguel Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez lacked consistency and despite some encouraging performances, they were cancelled out by multiple poor outings. Brian Matusz and Evan Meek also struggled on the mound, with each reliever putting in such bad performances that their spots were put in doubt. Offensively, the six home runs from Chris Davis somewhat overshadowed his slump and he was the only Orioles hitter to hit below .200 for the month.
Who was not?
* Chris Davis - .175 average, 6 home runs, 16 RBIs
* Brian Matusz - 11 1/3 innings, 7.94 ERA, 1.85 WHIP
* Evan Meek - 4 innings, 9.00 ERA, 1.75 WHIP
* Miguel Gonzalez - 14.2 innings, 6.14 ERA, 2.32 WHIP
Meek’s struggles have seen him being sent back down to Triple-A Norfolk, while Matusz is quickly falling out of favour with many Orioles fans and if he can’t turn it around, he too may face a similar fate if Showalter’s patience runs out. Gonzalez’s struggles could see him shifted to the bullpen when Bud Norris returns from a groin injury and lengthens the number of starters out to six. Davis’ month was arguably his worst since July 2011, but with his home run potential, he still adds huge value to the team. Expect the hits to come more regularly for him during July.
What were your thoughts on the month of June for the Orioles? What changes need to be made to the roster and team lineup?
Daniel Clark blogs about the Orioles at The Big Leagues Daily from Melbourne, Australia. Follow him on Twitter: @DC_TBLDaily. His thoughts on the O’s appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s continuing commitment to welcome guest bloggers to our little corner of cyberspace. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.