So the Orioles went six games recently scoring 13 runs total in that span. Now they’ve scored 20 runs their last two games in beating Washington 9-2 and Boston 11-2. The Orioles have 28 hits, including four home runs, in the two games.
A few thoughts on last night’s win over Boston:
* If you worried that John Means would turn into a pumpkin at midnight, forget it. Means slowed down a Boston team that was 14-2 in its last 16 road games, 19-10 in its last 29 overall and led the majors in runs per game at 5.64.
He allowed a two-run homer in the second to Sam Travis, who had just one homer in 156 career plate appearances to that point. But later in the game Means showed some poise and toughness. He had a 6-2 lead in the Boston fifth but faced Mookie Betts with two on and one out. The same Betts who has a career .912 OPS against the Orioles and a 1.008 OPS at Camden Yards. But Means got him to popout on the ninth pitch of the sequence and then got Rafael Devers as well. Devers began the night with 73 RBIs, two off the American League lead.
Means put his start against Tampa Bay, when he gave up three homers and six runs, in his rear-view mirror. He improved to 8-5 with a 2.95 ERA. If the league is going to catch up to him, it didn’t happen against a top offense last night.
* Anthony Santander continues to look so comfortable at the plate lately. It’s his third consecutive season playing in the majors, but the first time he looks like he truly belongs. He bashed a 415-foot homer off David Price in the first inning to provide a 3-0 lead and the Orioles would never trail on Friday night.
Santander’s 20 RBIs since being recalled June 7 leads the Orioles in that span. He’s batting .343 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 18 home games and .323 in 17 games versus the AL East. He looks under control on both offense and defense. Will he turn out to be the best Rule 5 pick the Orioles made in the last few years?
* The O’s got surprising offensive performances from Richie Martin and Keon Broxton. Coming into the night, Martin was batting .162 and Broxton .176. Martin was 1-for-24 his past 11 games. Broxton was 3-for-27 with 14 strikeouts his past 12 games.
Then they went a combined 4-for-7 with a triple, homer, three runs, a stolen base and three RBIs in the win. So yeah, pretty unexpected. Martin recorded his first multi-hit game since June 25. Broxton ended a 27-game and 74 plate appearance homer drought. In seven career games against the Red Sox he is batting .458 (11-for-24) with two homers and seven RBIs.
* The Orioles have played .500 ball since beginning the Cleveland series on June 28. They are 8-8 in their last 16 games. What should we make of that? Maybe not too much, it’s a small sample size of course, only 10 percent of a long season.
But they have beaten some good teams in this span with wins over Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Washington and Boston in addition to Toronto. Four of those teams are over .500 contending clubs. The Orioles are playing better baseball, but this run also includes losses by scores of 16-4, 12-4 and 8-1. So we can’t say the club has turned any corners here or that we’re in for an extended stretch of better baseball. We’ll see on that one.
By the way, with Friday’s win and Detroit’s latest loss, the Tigers now own MLB’s worst winning percentage at .312 to the Orioles at .313.
Friday farm notes: Double-A Bowie won again Friday night, 11-3 over Altoona. The Baysox are 22-6 in the second-half and 33-10 since June 1. Yusniel Diaz drove in three runs and Rylan Bannon hit his seventh homer. Winning pitcher Zac Lowther allowed three runs over seven innings to improve to 11-5 with an ERA of 2.64. Lowther leads the Eastern League in wins and ranks third in ERA. I wrote this story yesterday on the very strong Bowie rotation.
Triple-A Norfolk was down 7-0 in the third inning last night and rallied to beat Lehigh Valley 9-7. Austin Hays hit a two-run homer and has three homers and 11 RBIs in nine games since the All-Star break. Jack Reinheimer hit a two-run homer and has a 12-game hitting streak. Winning pitcher Sean Gilmartin threw four scoreless and Tayler Scott went two innings to get his first save.
Single-A Frederick left-hander DL Hall allowed three runs and five hits over five innings as Potomac beat Frederick 4-2. Hall is 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA.
Single-A Delmarva beat West Virginia 9-5 to improve to 68-30 overall and 20-9 in the second half. With that win, Delmarva matched last year’s win total when they went 68-66. Robert Neustrom went 4-for-5 with two RBIs for the Shorebirds and Seamus Curran drove in three.
The Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles beat Pittsburgh 6-2 and, at 14-5, are tied for the best record in the GCL.
Four Orioles were ranked in the new and updated top 100 prospects list released Friday by Baseball America. It’s the first list that includes 2019 draft picks. Adley Rutschman is ranked as baseball’s No. 5 prospect with Hall No. 41, Grayson Rodriguez No. 53 and Diaz No. 86. The Orioles are tied for seventh in MLB with four top 100 players.