A look at some star-worthy Orioles

With the 2022 All-Star Game scheduled for Tuesday, July 19 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, it’s time to reflect and wonder which Oriole or Orioles will be there this time around?

Of course, it looks like they have at least two very good candidates in outfielder Austin Hays and reliever Jorge López. Others played well too, but this duo is, for me, breaking away from the pack for this game.

During the Orioles’ last winning streak, from 2012 to 2016, they put several players in the game each year:

* 2012: Jim Johnson, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters
* 2013: Chris Davis, JJ Hardy, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Chris Tillman
* 2014: Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters
* 2015: Zack Britton, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Darren O’Day
* 2016: Brad Brach, Zack Britton, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters

But they only had one player in the years since with Jonathan Schoop (2017), Machado (2018), John Means (2019) and Cedric Mullins (2021). There were no matches in 2020.

Hays and López are clearly worthy and both should be given special attention. And while O fans in Baltimore have seen the team improve and play over .500 since around May 1, the rest of the baseball world will be slower to catch up. The O’s are still seen by many as a bad team, and from this group they will only deserve one player according to some of these thoughts.

You can’t go wrong picking either player for the All-Star team and yet it will look like a snub at this point if Hays or López don’t leave.

Through Saturday, Hays is batting .288/.345/.485 with an .830 OPS with 19 doubles, one triple, 10 home runs and 44 RBIs. He has played 19 races in his last 19 games and his OPS ranks 15e best in the American League. His defense and shots were also exceptional. He shows he’s a five player and the O’s win games with those five tools on any given night.

López has a 0.75 ERA with 13 saves on 15 occasions and hasn’t allowed a homer all year in 36 innings with a 0.81 WHIP. He continues to get four-or-out saves and has now gone 14 straight outings and 17 innings without allowing an earned run.

López with that 0.75 ERA sports the lowest ERA in the major leagues by a pitcher with at least 35 innings. And in O history, which of course dates back to 1954, that ERA is the lowest by an O pitcher in his first 31 games of a season. This includes Britton’s incredible 2016 season when he finished with a 0.54 ERA.

On a Baltimore Orioles improvement team, these two are the most worthy All-Star candidates.

They continue to win: The Orioles are off to their first four-game winning streak of the year after Saturday’s 6-2 win over the White Sox. It’s their first four-game since Sept. 4-8, 2020. They’re now one win away (with four games to go) from their first winning month since August 2017. The Orioles are 13-9 in June.

They’ve allowed just three runs in this series and three in the last four games while allowing just 16 runs in the last nine games. During that span, O pitchers have allowed two or fewer runs seven times in all nine games with a team ERA of 1.73 in that streak.

They won the last two days starting from Austin Voth and Spenser Watkins. The staff continues to do amazing things.

The O stars have a 0.98 ERA (3 ER/27.2 IP) over the past six games. The Baltimore bullpen has allowed an earned run or zero in 11 consecutive games with a 1.29 ERA (6 ER/42 IP) during that span. The offense has scored six or more points 11 times in the last 22 games.

Kind of a team effort as they edge closer to a winning month, edge closer to a .500 record and are 27-25 since May 1.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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