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It was a banner week for the Orioles offense, thanks largely to the unbelievable performance of center fielder Adam Jones, who accounted for 40 percent of the club’s scoring (30 runs) with a .520 average, three homers, six runs scored and nine RBIs. Throw in the surprising performance of catcher Caleb Joseph (10 for 19) and solid contributions throughout the lineup and it should surprise no one that the O’s rank in the top five in the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS through the first two weeks of the season. The numbers in those categories for the week are even more impressive. The O’s batted a combined .313 with a .351 on-base percentage, .488 slugging percentage and .839 OPS. Now, if they can just stop getting so excited in bases-loaded situations.
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Manager Buck Showalter is a no-excuses kind of guy, so you won’t hear him bemoaning the fact that the Orioles are without three-quarters of their projected middle infield alignment. Of course, he hasn’t had to, because the club’s had enough defensive depth –- so far –- to remain one of the best fielding teams in baseball. They’re currently seventh in the majors in fielding percentage and the infield did not commit its first error until Everth Cabrera’s errant throw on a tough play Sunday. They’ll be even better when J.J. Hardy comes back. Overall, the O’s made three errors this past week, the other two by pitcher Bud Norris and outfielder Alejandro De Aza. If we graded on the curve and took the Hardy injury into account, the defense would get an A, but Buck wouldn’t approve.
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Every week, columnist Peter Schmuck will grade the performance of the Orioles in five categories. The letter grades are not directly tied to any particular statistic, but are representative of a cumulative evaluation of everything – tangible or intangible – that falls under that particular category.