Better late than never, the longballs and runs arrive

Remember that time when the Orioles scored three runs or less 20 times in their first 34 games? The Orioles returned home and the home runs are back - and so are some big numbers on offense.

In those first 34 games, the Orioles hit 34 homers and averaged 3.4 runs per game. In the last seven games, during what has so far been a 5-2 homestand, the Orioles have hit 19 homers and have averaged 8.3 runs per game. Yep, quite a change.

The Orioles have hit three or more homers in a game nine times this year and five of those instances have happened during this homestand.

In the seven games at Oriole Park, the Orioles are batting .312 as a team with 13 doubles, a triple and those 19 homers.

They are also getting more clutch hits and that helps, too. In Sunday’s 17-1 win over Tampa Bay, the Orioles went 9-for-17 with runners in scoring position. In the first game of the homestand on Tuesday, the Orioles went 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position. But over the last six games, they are batting .476 (20-for-42) with RISP.

So, yeah, getting some homers and clutch hits explains why they have won games on the homestand, scoring six, nine, 11 and 17 runs.

Manny-Machado-hand-up-white-sidebar.jpgThe Orioles offense ranked 14th in the American League in batting average in April, but is sixth in May. They’ve gone from 13th to fourth in slugging and 15th to fourth in team OPS. After averaging 3.6 runs per game and going 8-20 through the end of April, the Orioles have averaged 5.8 runs per game in going 5-8 in May.

A 5-8 record in May is nothing to write home about, but remember the month began with the Orioles going 0-6 in Anaheim and Oakland.

“There’s really no explanation for why April went the way it did,” Danny Valencia said Sunday after getting four hits and driving in four runs against the Rays. “We obviously just didn’t play good baseball. It’s nice to come out and swing the bats well. This whole homestand so far we’ve done a great job of swinging the bats well. There’s a lot of great hitters in here and I can’t imagine our offense doing what it did in April the rest of the season. It was only a matter of time before it turned.”

At 13-28 right now, any talk of the playoffs or contending should probably only be considered as the extreme longshot that it is. The team is buried and even reaching .500 seems a very lofty goal. But the Orioles have won back-to-back series for the first time all year and about all they can do is try to win as many series as possible and see where it leads over the next few weeks.

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