Don’t look now, but Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is threatening to have his best offensive season in several years.
With two homers, two RBIs and a career-high-tying four hits in the Orioles’ 7-3 win over the Oakland A’s on Monday at Camden Yards, Jones is now batting .281 with 24 homers and 61 RBIs in 117 games played this season.
With 37 games remaining – and we know Jones doesn’t usually get many off days if healthy – he’s on pace to break the 30-homer mark for the first time since 2013. If he maintains his average, it’ll be the first time he’s hit over .280 since batting .281 in 2014.
“It’s very quietly, because he’s spoiled us with such a high level of intensity every night. He takes on responsibilities. This is a guy who gets a lot of cache because he knows what it takes to play and win, and he’s been a big part of things, obviously,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It may be kind of quietly sneaking up there, but so are a lot of other guys. But when you look at what we depend on Adam to bring, it’s remarkable that he’s been able to maintain the level of consistency since the club made a commitment to him.”
Jones, who turned 32 this month, is signed through the 2018 season. He’s the club’s most tenured player, and he’s moving up the modern franchise’s all-time lists in most offensive categories (he’s fifth in hits, homers and RBIs as an Oriole). So why has this year, his 10th in Baltimore, been a somewhat resurgent one?
“Playing the game, being healthy and being able to go out there every day and play,” Jones said. “I’ve always told you if I’m healthy, I should be able to go out there and do something. I’m healthy.”
That’s about as effusive as he is going to be about his own numbers. When asked if potentially reaching the 30-home-run plateau for the third time in his career meant something, he retorted: “It means something to me to be playing when everyone else is at home.”
Miley walks four, but goes six-plus for the win
The good news for Wade Miley is that he picked up his seventh win of the season Monday.
By allowing two runs on five hits in six-plus innings, he kept his team in the game – which is always the goal. He also lowered his season ERA to 5.11. He hasn’t been down to that level since before his first start of the second half. And, for the second time in three starts, he handled the A’s offense (he allowed one run, none earned, in seven innings on Aug. 10 in Oakland).
The bad news?
The major league’s walks leader issued four more Monday – the most he has given up since allowing four July 20. He threw 100 pitches and only 53 were strikes, but he made up for it by getting a couple key double play balls.
“I felt like I threw the ball pretty well. There were some walks in there, but pretty close misses,” he said. “I’m a lot closer to the plate than I was a couple weeks ago. So that’s something positive to build on.”
A meeting of the Boogs
Herschel Mack Powell IV and John Wesley Powell are expected to meet Tuesday on Eutaw Street – a convergence of Major League Baseball’s only Boogs.
The Oakland A’s 24-year-old rookie outfielder and the Orioles’ 76-year-old legendary first baseman of the same nickname will hang out at “Boog’s Barbecue” stand on Eutaw Street hours before Tuesday’s game.
“I’ve always told myself I’d meet him here, and it’s finally here,” the younger Powell told the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s not really fazing me yet, but it’ll hit me tomorrow. They’re sending a cart to take me to his barbecue; he asked what kind of meat I like, so I think he’s going to make something good. … I’m excited.”
The younger Powell initially went by “Mack,” but his dad began calling him Boog. According to mlb.com, he couldn’t shake the “Boog” moniker at baseball practice, and just stuck with it by age 18.
The elder Powell was given the nickname by an aunt who liked a radio show that had a character named Boog. It was actually pronounced Buuuug (like ‘booger’ or the ‘oo’ sound in good, not the ‘oo’ sound in food). But it was mispronounced so much that the elder Powell stuck with the more obvious pronunciation, as if he were being booed.
“They could be booing me with (chants of) ‘Boooog’ and I can say, ‘They are saying my name. Isn’t that sweet?’” Powell once quipped.
The current playing Boog, who is 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, homered against the Orioles and reliever Brad Brach on Monday, his first career, big league clout. The retired Boog, who was 6-foot-4, 230 pounds in his playing days, hit 339 career homers, including 303 for the Orioles.
OK, so they’re not exactly twins, but it’s a pretty cool little baseball tale.