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It wasn’t a banner week for the Orioles’ big-swinging offense, which averaged just three runs over the seven games against the Yankees and Indians. The club went into a serious RISP slump – in one stretch managing only three hits in 33 at-bats in those situations – and has not pounded the bleachers the way it did in the first half. The team’s overall average for the week was just .224 and the O’s hit just seven homers, six of them in the home sweep over the Indians. Predictably, the clutch hits returned when the team got back home and the week ended with the ultimate clutch hit, Nolan Reimold’s walkoff homer on Sunday.
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The Orioles defense has been very good for years, but it is just rounding into normal statistical form. Early in the season, the absence of J.J. Hardy and an inordinate number of errors by young pitchers dropped the Orioles into the lower reaches of the major league team rankings for fielding percentage. Since then, however, the O’s defense has climbed steadily and now is back in the top 10 – ranking eighth in the majors and third in the American League in that department. Last week, the O’s were charged with only two errors, the first a catcher’s interference call against Caleb Joseph and the other yesterday’s infield error by Jonathan Schoop that was really the result of trying to do too much on the play. They’ll take that kind of overall performance every week the rest of the way.
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Every week, Orioles 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.