ANAHEIM, Calif. - The Orioles lost six of seven out west last month and started this trip out west losing two of three at Arizona. Now it’s on to SoCal, where they will face the Los Angeles Angels for four games, starting tonight. The trip wraps up in San Diego on Tuesday.
The Orioles (32-69), after Wednesday’s 5-2 loss, are 4-3 over their past seven games, 5-7 since the All-Star break and 10-11 over their past 21 games. They are 3-3-1 in the last seven series, winning against the Indians, Blue Jays and Red Sox, splitting two games with the Nationals and losing two series to the Rays and one to the Diamondbacks.
O’s getting homer-happy: The Orioles are not exactly a prolific home run-hitting team. Through Tuesday’s games they had hit 126 as a team to rank 12th in the American League, where the average home run total is 143. They rank 22nd in the majors in team homers.
But the Orioles have put together an impressive streak that continued Wednesday in Arizona when Anthony Santander and Trey Mancini homered. They have hit at least two homers in seven consecutive games. They have hit 16 in that span. Until this seven-game run, they had gone three games in a row with two or more homers in a game just one time in 2019.
What is behind the longball run? Who knows for sure. Mancini and Dwight Smith Jr. recently ending slumps hasn’t hurt. Mancini has a pair of two-homer games in this span. Santander has hit four homers his last six games, and Hanser Alberto has homered twice in this stretch. Renato Núñez has hit three homers in the stretch and 24 on the season.
The homers have provided a recent increase to the run output, although the Birds went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and scored just twice on Wednesday. They have scored 43 runs with a .303 team batting average over the seven-game run.
Speaking of Santander: His bat continues to look strong. He had a double and solo homer in yesterday’s 5-2 loss at Arizona. Over his last seven games, Santander is batting .448 (13-for-29) with a double, triple, four homers and nine RBIs.
Santander just continues to look more comfortable than he ever has in the majors. He got 31 plate appearances with the Orioles in 2017. He had 108 last season and is at 169 so far in 2019. His June OPS was .759, and he’s at .861 in July. His bat looks potent from both sides of the plate and his defense has proven better than advertised. He’s now getting some starts in center field.
At 24 and now with some minor league time to develop after he was taken in the 2016 Rule 5 draft, he sure looks like a keeper. When fans ask which players they are seeing now may be around for the next contending Orioles team, Santander’s name should be on the list.
Trout on a roll: Of course, in this series the Orioles will face the great Mike Trout, who is having an outstanding year, even by his usual lofty standards. He’s batting .298/.445/.666 with 33 homers, 80 RBIs and an OPS of 1.110. He is on his way to a third straight season with an OPS of at least 1.000 and a fifth straight year with at least .991.
Going into last night’s game, The Angels’ center fielder had mashed 11 home runs in his last 13 games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he joined former Oriole Doug DeCinces as the only Angels with 11 home runs in a 13-game span (DeCinces hit 12 in 13 contests in 1982). Trout’s 33 home runs are the most in franchise history through the club’s first 102 games.
Over those 13 games, Trout is batting .340 (16-for-50) with 11 homers, three doubles and 23 RBIs. On March 20, Trout signed a 12-year, $426.5 million contract. It will keep him in Anaheim through the 2030 season.
The Angels may use an opener in Sunday’s series finale versus the Orioles. They have used an opener to begin 20 games this season, with six different relievers making starts. Los Angeles is 12-8 in games with an opener.
Minors moves: Single-A Frederick was busy with some roster shuffling yesterday. The Keys added three players from Single-A Delmarva in right-handed pitcher Reed Hayes and outfielders Will Robertson and Robert Neustrom.
The Orioles release three players from Frederick: outfielders Trevor Craport and Kirvin Moesquit and lefty pitcher Cameron Ming. The organization released four players from short season Single-A Aberdeen: catcher Luke Ringhofer, infielder Juan Montes and outfielders Trey Truitt and Tristan Graham.
Delmarva’s double shutouts: Delmarva held Greenville to five hits in 14 innings and shut out the Drive in both games of a doubleheader last night by scores of 4-0 and 2-0. Hector Guance started the opener, allowing one hit in five frames. Adam Stauffer went four innings, allowing one hit in the nightcap. Delmarva recorded its 13th and 14th shutouts. The Shorebirds improved to 71-31 overall and to 23-10 in the second half.