The Orioles have made just 32 errors on the year over 106 games. At that pace, they will make 49 this year over the full season. The major league record for fewest errors is 65 by the 2003 Seattle Mariners.
The major league record for single-season fielding percentage is .989 by the 2007 Colorado Rockies. The O’s percentage right now is .992.
No matter how you stack it, we are watching the defense that is likely the best in baseball every night. It might rank with the best in club history and the best in the history of the game. That seems like a big statement, but it may not be an exaggeration.
The O’s put five players on the field most nights that have won Gold Gloves in Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Nate McLouth, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Manny Machado clearly is good enough to win one this year.
The O’s put big-time defensive talent on the field every night, but third base coach Bobby Dickerson, who also works with the club’s infielders, says it is more than talent that makes the O’s a great defensive team.
“To play at the level they are playing at right now, most of it is focus,” Dickerson said. “There are a lot of talented players in the majors with great hands and great arms.
“It’s above the shoulders. The ability to grind through these long days and a long summer. That is it, the ability to focus and handle this pitch right now. Our guys, led by J.J., it has rubbed off.
“The grind a guy like J.J. has done his whole career that didn’t get noticed until last year because he is not that flashy.
“As an infield coach, Hardy is the epitome of what I’ve been trying to teach in my 20 years in the minor leagues: being fundamentally sound, taking care of what you can take care, prepare yourself daily so you are not surprised in the game. As a group, we’ve done that and guys are feeding off of each other.”
As a coach who works with the defense, Dickerson can appreciate the highlight-reel plays that Machado has made this year, but he appreciates more this club’s ability to make the routine plays and almost never beat itself on defense.
“As far as the great plays, those are what the media likes to see and it looks awesome on TV to see Manny run into foul territory and throw across his body,” Dickerson said.
“But I’ll tell you what we like to see. We like to see those two-hop double play balls turned with a one-run lead. Those are the separators. We see them all the time not get turned and it leads to extra outs. That is where our focus is.”