Perhaps one of the most important things about the Orioles’ two straight victories this weekend was who was in the middle of the offensive surge, besides the regular culprits.
The 35-year-old had two hits, including a two-run single, in the Orioles’ 7-2 win Sunday over the Colorado Rockies. He also had a two-run double and two walks in Saturday’s 8-4 victory.
How long had it been since the oft-injured Roberts had consecutive multi-RBI games?
The first two games of the 2011 season.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for, for a long time,” said Roberts, who played in his 41st game of the season on Sunday. “I’ve wanted to be able to get out there and play every day and be on a team that’s good and in a pennant race. And you put the two together, and I can’t ask for much more at this point. And to feel like you are contributing, that’s exciting.”
Roberts, who has played in just 156 games since the beginning of the 2010 season, has multiple hits in five of his past six games and has hit safely in six of his last seven. In that stretch, he is batting .478 with two doubles, a triple, seven RBIs, five walks and four runs scored.
“Sometimes you just trust people and realize there’s a lot of game speed he’s missed at this level,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Kind of trust people and keep running him out there and he’ll catch up. He’s been a force for us, especially down at the bottom of the order.”
His teammates have certainly noticed -- and understand what Roberts brings when he is healthy. His season average is now up to .275 with a .331 on-base percentage.
“Mentally, he’s good for this team. Physically, if he’s able to play, he drives in runs. The thing about him, you have to realize, he drives in runs,” Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. “Even though he’s been the leadoff hitter the main part of his career, when he’s had the opportunity to drive in runs, he’s been one of the most productive guys I’ve seen.
"If he can help us drive in runs, start off innings. He’s one of the best people at getting on base, drawing walks, still can hit doubles. He’s going to be a big help for us if he remains the player he is right now.”
Roberts was told about Jones’ comments after Sunday’s game.
This is what he said:
“It’s humbling that people still believe in me after all this time,” said Roberts, who made his Orioles debut in 2001. “Fortunately, I played with Adam when I was healthy and able to perform and I think I feel the same way. As long as I can get on the field, get out there and get at-bats and play, I feel like I can contribute.
“The big part is there‘s not one person on this team that has to be spectacular every day. We have 1 through 9 that can contribute. And I’ve never been a part of a team like that. So whether you are hitting ninth or first or fourth, I think every guy in our lineup can hurt you every night.”
And, right now, Roberts, the old man of the lineup, is having a run like we haven’t seen from him in years.