Baltimore Orioles: O’s Sweep Oakland E’s in Battle of Vowels


Aug 17, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; The Oriole Bird holds up a broom after the Baltimore Orioles completed a sweep of the Oakland Athletics with a 4-2 victory at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Hold it. Is that a mistake in the title? Shouldn’t it be the Baltimore Orioles sweeping the Oakland A’s?  Well, technically yes. But Oakland should probably have their vowel changed from “A” to “E” since they lead the American League in errors.

Indeed, three Oakland errors in the Orioles’ season finale 4-2 win over the Athletics now give the A’s a total of 99 E’s for the season. The Texas Rangers have the second-most errors with 88, and then it drops all of the way to 72 for third — the NY Yankees.

So who has the least number of errors? Why of course it is the Baltimore Orioles with 45. You have to add 10 more to get to the next best defensive team — the Detroit Tigers. The league average is 67.

All four of the Orioles runs were set up by poor defensive play. The first miscue by second baseman Eric Sogard on a rather routine Chris Davis grounder extended the fifth inning. After a solid single by Jonathon Schoop, Steve Clevenger got all of an 0-2 pitch by Sonny Gray to put the Birds ahead 3-1.

And again, in the bottom of the sixth inning, the A’s outfielders misjudged and misplayed a J.J. Hardy soft liner into a hit. Caleb Joseph would double him home with two outs, which means that the other team should just quit at that point. The Orioles are now 37-5 when Joseph gets a RBI — a sort of silly, but fun statistic to track.

Two other Oakland errors did not lead to runs, but they extended innings and truly made the team look simply awful in the field. The only other team we have seen at OPACY that looked this bad was the Philadelphia Phillies, who are, by the way, among the National League leaders in errors.

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Sonny Gray of the A’s deserved a better fate, as he drops to 12-5 with a 2.04 ERA. This guy has some nasty stuff for sure.

However, Gray gave up both of the RBI hits on 0-2 pitch counts. We’ve seen some Orioles pitchers do this same disastrous thing, but it is really unusual for Gray to do this. Coming into this game, Gray had a career batting average against of .133 (23-for-173) on 0-2 pitches … and for 2015 it was .110.  Only two out of those 175 at-bats were home runs, and only five were doubles.

But add one more to each of those numbers. As noted above, Steve Clevenger was the homer, with Caleb Joseph getting the double.

Chris Tillman was not carrying his very best stuff, but he pitched well enough against the most winless team in the A.L. to give up only two runs on three hits and three walks in seven innings. The runs were solo shots by former Oriole Danny Valencia (who is having a nice season) and rookie Mark Canha.

A four-game sweep is as sweet as it is rare. But now the Orioles have to face a very different opponent the next two evenings in the N.Y. Mets. The Mets made the Orioles look pretty bad earlier this year, so this will truly be a test to see if things have changed. After winning 11 of 13 games, the Mets are coming off losing a weekend three-game sweep to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Next: The J.J. Hardy Hitting Woes

Next: Wei-Yin Chen and Run Support

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