The Orioles run producing ability this season is widely accredited the surplus of home runs the club has manufactured. Seemingly every Orioles victory was the cause of a home run, excluding the 10-1 defeat of Oakland on Saturday.
So far this season the Orioles have hit 30 home runs. Baltimore is third in Major League baseball in home runs, trailing only the Yankees and Rangers.
To some this may come as a surprise for a few reasons. First, the Orioles were not exceedingly powerful last season and did not acquire a “power bat” in the offseason. Second, the O’s struggled to hit a single homer throughout the first couple of weeks in Spring Training. Lastly, how could the Orioles be one of the leaders in the home run category when their most powerful home run hitter, Mark Reynolds, has yet to knock one over the wall?
Dan Duquette’s additions, though not putting up earth shattering numbers, have contributed quite nicely to an already potent Orioles lineup. Wilson Betemit has hit in the clutch time and time again. Twice in Toronto, with a game winning RBI with two outs and the game tying homerun with two outs both in the eighth inning. Betemit hit the walk-off homer to win the series against the A’s on Sunday. Ronny Paulino has hit over .350 as the backup catcher and continues to hit the ball with authority.
Chris Davis’ numbers are on the incline and playing in Yankee Stadium should only help his power numbers. Davis jacked three home runs in the recent six game home stand, including one ball onto Eutaw Street.
The Orioles will face Huroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova in New York. In a combined 12 starts, the three have allowed 13 home runs. Yankee Stadium continues to be one of the leagues biggest hotbeds for the long ball. The Orioles may have caught the Yankees at a perfect time. After getting swept in the second series of the season, Baltimore looks to rebound against the bottom of the Yanks rotation, which has been in turmoil thus far in 2012. The O’s lost two heartbreaking extra inning games against the Yankees and seek to avenge those loses in this upcoming series. The O’s and Yanks are two of the leading home run hitting teams in Major League Baseball and this series should display a lot of home run trots. However, on paper the O’s have the upper hand in the rotation with Hammel, Matusz, and Arrieta slated to pitch. As I said, the Orioles have caught the Yankees at a pivotal point, especially because their best run producer Nick Swisher just went down to injury. This series opens a tough stretch for the O’s as they face New York, Boston, Texas, and Tampa Bay. The power bats should be on display in the Bronx this week and we should get a pretty good idea of what this team is made of after these next few series.
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