In case you’re wondering, the Orioles can hit. They can bash the baseball. Crush home runs.
Don’t stop if you’ve read this before. Because you have read this before – many times — and I want you to keep reading. Plus, you just haven’t read this theme in a while.
So here we go again. The Orioles entered Thursday night against the Houston Astros averaging the fewest runs per game in the American League since the second half began.
They had scored just 111 runs in 32 games for an average of 3.47 per game. That’s not good, in case you were wondering.
There was concern that this offense is one-dimensional, home-run happy, fill-in-the-blank predictable.
And it is. But when that one dimension gets going, it is something to watch; and it’s impossible to defend balls that leave the park.
On Thursday, the Orioles were facing rookie right-hander Joe Musgrove, a former supplemental first-rounder who had a 1.47 ERA in three big league games (two starts).
It looked like another tough matchup.
So, naturally, the Orioles knocked him around for eight runs in 5 1/3 innings. And then they clobbered his replacement, James Hoyt, for four runs in 2/3 of an inning.
It reached the point that Astros manager A.J. Hinch brought in infielder Tyler White to pitch the eighth. And Chris Davis homered against White. It was Davis’ second homer of the game and the Orioles’ sixth of the night. J.J. Hardy also had a multi-homer game.
“I was never with a team that hits this many home runs,” said outfielder Hyun Soo Kim through his interpreter Danny Lee. “It is very exciting. I feel just great being part of it.”
The Orioles had scored just four runs in two losses against the Boston Red Sox this week. And then they scored five runs in the first two innings Thursday. They scored five runs in the sixth inning of the 13-5 pummeling of the Astros.
The output tied the club’s season record for runs, first set on June 1 in a 13-9 victory against the Red Sox. The 18 hits, including a career-high four by Kim, fell one shy of the club’s season record of 19 set versus Toronto on June 19. The six home runs fell one short of the season record of seven against Boston on June 2.
Mark Trumbo hit his career-best 35th on Thursday. Hardy hit his 100th and 101st as an Oriole. Davis now has three homers in two games. Manny Machado smashed his 27th and is tied with Davis for second on the team
Obviously, the Orioles need to find other ways to score besides the longball – 11 of their runs were directly because of home runs. But they also had a sacrifice fly and an RBI single Thursday.
No matter how you do it, or who you do it against, 13 runs and18 hits are impressive.
It may be a one-day fireworks show. But you know these all-or-not-much Orioles. You’ve seen them play all season. We could be writing the same theme tomorrow.
And the day after that.