By Matt Vensel
The Baltimore Sun
12:46 PM EDT, May 8, 2013
Each Wednesday, blogger Matt Vensel will highlight five statistics that really mean something for the Orioles.
58.9 -- the number of saves Orioles closer Jim Johnson is on pace for this season.
Jim Johnson got his 12th save in Tuesday night's 4-3 win over the Kansas City Royals, tying him for second in baseball behind Jason Grilli of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Johnson has converted all 12 save opportunities in 2013. We are nearing the quarter pole of the 2013 season, and Johnson is on pace to record more than 50 saves for a second straight season (he had a club-record 51 in 2012). Only two players in major league history, Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne, have had multiple 50-save seasons, and Gagne is the only closer to do it in consecutive seasons. Johnson still has a long way to go to get to 50 again, but his save total is worth keeping an eye on.
two -- games in which an O’s starter has gone seven innings.
The Orioles are 19th in baseball with 16 quality starts, but only twice this season has an O's starter lasted through the seventh inning. Wei-Yin Chen pitched eight scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics on April 26 and Chris Tillman went eight scoreless against the Los Angeles Angels last week. Still, besides Jake Arrieta, who is now in Norfolk, Orioles starters have typically gone at least five or six innings, keeping the bullpen, which is currently 10th-highest in innings pitched, out of the danger zone. Going deeper in games, though, would help ensure that the bullpen is still effective later in the season.
eight -- straight scoreless appearances for Tommy Hunter.
Starter-turned-reliever Tommy Hunter had a rough start to the season, allowing three solo home runs in his first three appearances, after which he had an ERA of 7.36. But since giving up two home runs in a win over the Boston Red Sox on April 10, Hunter has not allowed a run, a scoreless streak that he extended to 12 1/3 on Tuesday night. He is proving to be a reliable weapon in the bullpen and might have the makeup to handle a late-inning role -- especially if he keeps avoiding the long ball.
.649 -- Baltimore’s winning percentage since July 29, 2012.
Only three major league teams have a better record this season than the Orioles, who are 20-13 but trail the Boston Red Sox by a game in the American League East. It is, of course, a continuation of their strong play from the second half of last season. In fact, since July 29, 2012, the Orioles have the best record in baseball at 61-33 (.649) and the best home record at 31-13 (.705), according to MASN.
10 -- home runs for former Orioles slugger Mark Reynolds.
The Orioles declined to pick up an $11 million option on Mark Reynolds this past offseason. He hit 60 home runs in two seasons with the Orioles, but he was prone to strikeouts and miscues in the field, making him a polarizing player in Baltimore. He signed a one-year deal with Cleveland, and so far this season, he is leading the American League major leagues with 10 home runs, one better than Baltimore slugger Chris Davis. Reynolds, who has a history of red-hot hitting stretches like this, also ranks third in slugging percentage (.631) and fifth in RBIs (27). I’m not saying the Orioles miss him, though they might.
Bloggers note: Have a nifty stat you want to share? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me on Twitter at @mattvensel. If I end up using it, I’ll be sure to give you a nice plug on the blog.
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