Baltimore Orioles vs Tampa Bay Rays: 3 takeaways
By Sam Belden
This team can actually hit
Through Saturday, the Orioles still ranked dead last in the American League in runs per game, a figure that contrasts sharply with their performance over the weekend. The Birds plated six or more runners in three of the four games, outscoring the Rays 35-18 in the process.
Just look at Sunday’s overstuffed box score. The Birds scored a staggering 17 runs — their highest total since August 2015 — on 19 hits, making it one of the most lopsided games of the 2018 season. Six different Orioles collected multiple hits, including Danny Valencia, whose 4-for-4 performance included a solo home run, and Joey Rickard, who hit two round-trippers of his own.
Even if the biggest hits didn’t come from their big-money stars, it was nice to finally get some help for Manny Machado. The superstar shortstop has been terrorizing AL pitchers all season long, and Sunday was no exception — he knocked in two runs on three hits, including a pair of doubles. The strong performance brought him to five extra-base hits on the series, coming on the heels of his home run surge during the first two games.
Take a look:
The Birds have averaged 8.3 runs per game over the past week, one of the best marks in the majors. The first six weeks of the season were as bad as it gets, but it seems the offense has finally turned a corner.