Sunday, August 17, 2008

O's offense still producing

The Orioles put up 16 runs against the Detroit Tigers today to take the third game of the series and two out of three. The O's (60-63) went 4-3 on their most recent road trip which included four games in Cleveland.

With so much unexpected production from Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, Adam Jones (before his injury), and Luke Scott, the Orioles' offense is in some pretty impressive company at this point in the season. The offense is fourth in MLB in runs scored with 618 -- 32 more than the Yankees have scored. The O's are also 10th in HRs (138), tied for 11th in on-base percentage (.336), 7th in slugging percentage (.438), and 6th in OPS (.780).

The O's can attribute their offensive explosion to very strong post-All Star break numbers. Since the break, the O's rank first in MLB in the following categories: runs (179), OPS (.864), batting average (.304), RBI (172), total bases (514), and extra base hits (115). They're also fourth in home runs with 37.

The significant amount of home runs is especially shocking since many of the same players in the lineup last season have already eclipsed their 2007 power numbers with 39 games still left to play this season.

Here are the numbers for part of the current lineup with their home run numbers from 2007 and so far in 2008. Remember, Luke Scott played with the Astros last year.

Brian Roberts -- 12/8/-4
Nick Markakis -- 23/17/-6
Melvin Mora -- 14/20/+6
Aubrey Huff -- 15/26/+11
Luke Scott -- 18/21/+3
Kevin Millar -- 17/18/+1
Ramon Hernandez -- 9/12/+3

These seven players have combined to hit 14 more home runs than they did last year. Roberts and Markakis haven't hit as many HRs, but they're also both having better seasons. Roberts is stealing fewer bases -- 30, compared to 50 in 2007 -- but his OPS is 38 points higher, and he's also hitting more doubles (44 up to this point). Markakis is also playing very well with an .894 OPS, which is 46 points higher than in 2007. He's also drawing tons of walks -- 76 so far -- and has a very impressive .401 OBP.

Mora's amazing post-All Star break numbers also deserve to be recognized. After a 5-6 day against the Tigers today, Mora is hitting an astounding .432 in 28 games and has a .461 OBP and a .780 SLG. That's right, Mora has a 1.241 OPS after the break. Even in 28 games, that's extremely impressive. Other notable stats during his superb run: 51 hits, 22 runs, 9 HRs, 43 RBI, and 92 total bases.

No one knows for sure what the future will bring for the O's. Some of these players may be traded before the start of next season, and all of them probably won't be back. But as a unit, they've all worked hard to put up plenty of runs and prove a lot of people wrong on how the Orioles would fare this season.

If they can do it for a little while longer, the O's may actually end up at .500 this season -- a task few people figured the Orioles could accomplish this season.

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