A look at a couple of All-Star worthy Orioles

With the 2022 All-Star game set for Tuesday July 19 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, it’s about the time to ponder and wonder what Oriole or Orioles will be there this time?

Sure seems like they have at least two very strong candidates in outfielder Austin Hays and reliever Jorge López. Others have played well too, but this duo is, for me, separating themselves from the pack for that game.

During the Orioles' last winning run, from 2012 through 2016, they put multiple players in the game each year:

* 2012: Jim Johnson, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters
* 2013: Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Chris Tillman
* 2014: Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters
* 2015: Zack Britton, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Darren O’Day
* 2016: Brad Brach, Zack Britton, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters

But they had just one player in the years since with Jonathan Schoop (2017), Machado (2018), John Means (2019) and Cedric Mullins (2021). There was not a game in 2020.

Hays and López are clearly worthy and both should get strong consideration. And even though the O’s fans in Baltimore have seen the team improve and play over .500 ball now since around May 1, the rest of the baseball world will be slower to catch up to that. The O’s by many are still just seen as a bad team, and from that group, will be worthy of just one player by some of that thinking.

You can’t go wrong picking either player for the All-Star team and yet it will feel like a snub at this point if either Hays or López don’t get to go.

Through Saturday, Hays is batting .288/.345/.485 with an .830 OPS with 19 doubles, one triple, 10 homers and 44 RBIs. He has driven in 19 runs his last 19 games and his OPS ranks 15th best in the American League. His defense and throwing have been exceptional as well. He is showing he is a five-too player and the O's are winning games via all five of those tools on a given night. 

López has an ERA of 0.75 with 13 saves in 15 chances and he has not allowed a homer all year through 36 innings with an 0.81 WHIP. He keeps getting saves of four outs or more and has now gone 14 straight outings and 17 innings without allowing an earned run.

López with that 0.75 ERA sports the lowest ERA in the major leagues by a pitcher with at least 35 innings. And in O’s history, dating of course to 1954, that ERA is the lowest by an O's pitcher through his first 31 games of a season. That includes Britton’s amazing 2016 season when he finished with an ERA of 0.54.

On a team of improving Baltimore Orioles, these two are the most worthy All-Star candidates. 

They keep winning: The Orioles have their first four-game winning streak of the year after Saturday’s 6-2 win over the White Sox. It is their first four-gamer since Sept. 4-8, 2020. They are now one win away (with four games left) from their first winning month since August 2017. The Orioles are 13-9 in June.

They have allowed just three runs in this series and three in the last four games while yielding just 16 runs in the last nine games. In that span, O’s pitchers have allowed two runs or less seven times in the nine game with a team ERA of 1.73 in that stretch.

They won the last two days starting Austin Voth and Spenser Watkins. The staff continues to do some amazing things.

O’s starers have an ERA of 0.98 (3 ER/27.2 IP) the past six games. The Baltimore bullpen has allowed one earned run or zero for 11 straight games with an ERA of 1.29 (6 ER/42 IP) in that span. The offense has scored six runs or more 11 times the past 22 games.

So kind of a team effort as they close in on a winning month, get closer to a .500 record and have a mark of 27-25 since May 1. 

Orioles and White Sox lineups (and notes)
Leftovers for breakfast
 

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