Who would have thought that returning to playing games within the American League East might be a way for the Orioles to get more wins. Well, we will see about that, but they play three games at home against Toronto starting tonight. They also have upcoming series with the Yankees, Red Sox and Yankees.
The Orioles just completed a stretch of playing 12 consecutive games outside of the division. This was after where 24 of the first 27 this season were AL East games. But while the O’s went 15-9 in those division games, they went just 6-6 in the stretch of non-division contests.
But they return home tonight where they have the majors’ best home record at 13-3. They went 5-1 early in the season versus the Blue Jays.
They certainly need some wins after a road trip where they lost six of seven and all six losses were by one run. There were blown leads, bullpen issues and games where their starters didn’t pitch enough innings.
One positive development - perhaps less noticed amid the series of losses - is that the team has started to hit more home runs.
First 28 games: 34 homers, 1.2 per game, eight multi-homer games.
Last 11 games: 21 homers, 1.9 per game, eight multi-homer games.
The Orioles led Major League Baseball with 253 home runs last season. At their current pace, they would hit 228 this season. While the fans are well aware the team doesn’t have the variety to its offense with top on-base capability and the speed of other teams, we do know they have to hit homers to score consistently. The current homer surge has helped the club score more runs - they produced 74 runs the last 13 games (5.7 per game).
It may not be as noticeable when the team has lost as much as it has recently, but the offense has finally picked up. No surprise it happened as the team started to hit more home runs.
The Orioles’ upcoming schedule looks tough. After this weekend series, they play Minnesota, Houston and the Yankees. Through Wednesday, they were the current three AL division leaders. That will be followed by series with the Red Sox, Pirates, Nats (one game) and Yankees again.
While the Orioles need to iron out their pitching issues, seeing the offense score more and hit more homers, is an encouraging sign.
IronBirds unveil promotions: The short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds have announced their promotional schedule for the 2017 season. Headlined by popular traveling entertainment acts and themed promotional nights, it includes 11 postgame firework shows at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium.
Opening night is set for Tuesday, June 19 as the IronBirds host the Hudson Valley Renegades featuring entertainment by Super Fan Cameron Hughes and postgame fireworks. On June 30, the IronBirds will host Military Appreciation Night and a fireworks show, followed by a special Fourth of July Stars and Stripes Celebration and fireworks show.
New to this year’s promotional lineup, the IronBirds will become the Aberdeen Steamed Crabs on Aug. 11 to honor Maryland’s favorite pastime.
Regularly occurring theme nights include Military Appreciation Sundays as well as Throwback Thursday nights where the team will don updated versions of the team’s original uniforms. Many fan favorites will return this season, including Super Hero Night (July 9), Christmas in July (July 21), Star Wars Night (July 22) and Fan Appreciation Night (Sept. 5).
Throughout the season, the IronBirds will also host Community Movie Nights (June 2, July 1, Aug. 5, Sept. 9) where fans can watch free movie showings on the IronBirds’ new 1,500 square foot high-definition video board.
Single game tickets are now on sale and can be purchased online at www.IronBirdsBaseball.com or by visiting the box office at Ripken Stadium.