The Baltimore Orioles (4-1) are in 1st place after week one of the 2017 MLB season, winning their first two games of the season against the Blue Jays and taking 2-3 from the Yanks. The O’s continue their AL East battle on the road against the Boston Red Sox (3-3) before traveling north to face the Blue Jays (1-5).
The season has just started, but so far so good for the O’s bats. It should come as no surprise that the Birds have five different players that have hit home runs this season, but it is a little surprising that no one has hit more than one. The long-ball has come at some opportune times as well. Monday, Trumbo hits his monster walk-off on opening day and Friday, Seth Smith, who was traded to the team this offseason from Seattle, hit his first home run in the orange and black to complete the O’s come from behind victory against the Yankees.
It hasn’t been all Long-ball either. On Saturday the O’s found themselves down 4-3 late in the game when Chris Davis hits a 1-out double. Davis scored off of a Trumbo single, who then shocked all of Eutaw Street when he (Trumbo) stole second. Kim gave the Orioles the lead with a blooper in shallow right and the bullpen locked it down. The most surprising discovery so far this season is that the O’s have the fewest strikeouts in the league (38), and the three players with the most walks on the team are Machado (3), Davis (2) and Jones (2). The Orioles three biggest names are using plate discipline to generate runs and that’s a good sign for any postseason hopes they may have.
Orioles pitching is going to be a rollercoaster ride this year, which is about what they expect every year. But they’re expecting a lot of progress as the season rolls on. So far, everyone is talking about the good starts that Gausman and Bundy have had. Each of their games wound up being wins for the birds, but I’m not sure those people were watching the same games we were.
Bundy actually was amazing. 7 innings with 8 strikeouts on 99 pitches are exactly what the Orioles were all hoping for. Even more, he hasn’t allowed any walks. He didn’t even see a full count until the 6th inning. He had movement, he had decent velocity and he threw quickly. There was a confidence on the mound that we had all been expecting to see since we heard about his legendary potential down on the farm.
Gausman is a little trickier to analyze. His stuff looks good when he needs it to be. He used 8 combined strikeouts to get himself out of jams in both of his starts. He gave up 2 runs in both of his starts and is only averaging 5 innings a game, but unlike Bundy, Gausman has not looked comfortable. I’m going to attribute this to the fact that there are a lot of new faces in the organization. Matt Wieters is no longer the anchor behind home plate guiding the young arms to their potential. Many people thought that he wasn’t very good at calling a game for the O’s pitching staff, but he was a leader in the clubhouse and also knows how to navigate the extreme pressures of expectation. They also have a new pitching coach in Roger McDowell and there may be a learning curve. I expect that things will settle down and Gausman will show his development as he and Wellington Castillo become more comfortable with each other.
I’m Not Say’n, I’m Just Say’n
As impressive as Bundy was in his first start, no one had a better first start than Wade Miley. Miley, a pitcher who is trying to maintain his starting position once Chris Tillman makes his season debut, had a performance against the Yankees that was awe-inspiring. Miley struck out five and took a No-hitter
into the 5th inning of Sunday’s loss to the Yankees. He also had 7 walks on 100 pitches in 5 innings, but he stranded all seven of those base runners. It all comes down to who scores the most runs and Wade Miley is leading all Orioles starting pitchers with a 0.00 Era, he’s tied for second on the team in strikeouts and if he can find some of the control we saw at the end of last season, he’s earning that 4th spot over Jimenez when Tilly comes back.