Maybe playing right field is going to be good for Adam Jones on offense. I’m kidding here, but Jones did go 2-for-4 last night with a double and solo homer. In five games as a right fielder, he’s 7-for-20 and batting .350/.409/.600 with an OPS of 1.009.
Interviewed after last night’s 6-3 win over the New York Mets, Jones wasn’t offering much yet when asked how he’s getting along in right field.
“Fine,” he said. “Less running. I’ve only been at it five games, so I’ll let you know when I get an ample amount of games at it.”
Jones was asked about the Orioles offense and how much better it is since the All-Star game. Before the break, the Orioles averaged 3.6 runs per game and after they are at 5.6 per game. Their 40 homers ranks second in the American League since the break, and they lead the league in team batting since the break, at .285, and rank second with an .831 OPS.
“I think we are just coming out and playing baseball. We understand what the year has been and we are just still trying to make the best of it. We owe it to ourselves to come out and play every day hard and not just lay down from it. We have an obligation to ourselves, to our team, to the city, to the fans. We’re going to come play hard. Sometimes the result is not what you want and it hasn’t been a lot this year, but that’s not going to stop the effort that we’re going to bring,” Jones said.
Jones did have praise for young center fielder Cedric Mullins, who is batting .375 (6-for-16) so far. He’s hit safely in four of his five big league games with three doubles and two RBIs.
What has been the key for Mullins’ good start for the Orioles?
“Poise,” Jones said. “He’s got a good group of veterans around him to where we can keep him poised. He’s in a good situation here just knowing there is not nearly as many expectations throughout the year except get some at-bats and get some seasoning, get some dirt in your spikes and have some fun. He’s just coming in and playing baseball.”
Jones produced his team-leading 34th multi-hit game last night. He’s batting .329 in the second half. Jones and Chris Davis homered in the same game for the 43rd time. That is the most ever among Orioles teammates and most among active players in the majors. The Angels’ Albert Pujols and Mike Trout are second, with 40 such games.
Farm notes: Triple-A Norfolk split a doubleheader with Pawtucket, winning the opener 4-1 before a 4-0 loss. The Tides are 62-57 and the only O’s farm team with a realistic shot at the playoffs. Norfolk is 4 1/2 out in its division, but just one game back in the International League wild-card race.
In the Tides’ Game 1 win, lefty Josh Rogers allowed one run and six hits over five innings. In four Norfolk starts since he came over in the Zach Britton trade with the Yankees, he is 2-1 with a 1.42 ERA. Over 25 1/3 innings, he has walked six, fanned 16 and allowed a .213 batting average. Lefty Luis Gonzalez got his second save and has a 2.12 ERA in eight games with Norfolk. In that opening win, DJ Stewart hit a two-run homer and Pedro Álvarez a solo shot.
As Bowie beat Richmond 10-2 in Game 1 of a doubleheader, outfielder Austin Hays had a big game. He went 3-for-3 with a double and a grand slam. Hays has played in 49 games for Bowie this season, and that was his first three-hit game. He went 0-for-4 in the nightcap to drop his average to .231. Corban Joseph hit a three-run homer for the Baysox.
Left-hander Keegan Akin got yet another Bowie win. He gave up two runs over 5 2/3 with seven strikeouts. Akin is 13-6 with a 2.92 ERA. He leads the Eastern League in wins, ERA and strikeouts. That is rather impressive, and leading a league in all three categories is known as the pitcher Triple Crown.
In Bowie’s Game 2 loss, outfielder Yusniel Díaz hit a three-run homer, his second in 20 games with Bowie. Díaz may be finally getting his bat going. He is 5-for-14 during a four-game hitting streak, raising his average from .182 to .217.
Lefty Drew Rom, the Orioles’ fourth-round pick this year, pitched three scoreless in the Gulf Coast League yesterday. Rom has a 1.95 ERA through nine games. Over 27 2/3 innings, he has walked five and fanned 25 batters. He’s allowed one run in 8 2/3 over his past three games.
The Orioles’ fifth-round pick this year, University of Iowa outfielder Robert Neustrom, has a hot bat going for short-season Single-A Aberdeen. In nine games in August, he is batting .382/.400/.618 with five doubles, a homer and five RBIs. This was after he hit .197 in July.
In the New York-Penn League All-Star game last night, Aberdeen lefty Matthew Hammonds was the starting and winning pitcher for the South in a 7-1 win over the North. Hammonds threw a scoreless inning on 15 pitches with one strikeout. IronBirds infielder Willy Yahn went 2-for-2 with a double, triple and run scored.
Jones not only homered during last night’s game, but he made another fan.