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Inconsistency continues to be the watchword for the Orioles offense, which scored a total of 26 runs in six games last week, which wouldn’t be awful if 17 of them had not come in two of those games. They were absolutely toothless with runners in scoring position over the weekend, leaving a bunch of guys on early in Friday night’s marathon shutout and displaying little plate judgement when they had a chance to make a late inning comeback on Sunday. Note to O’s: Just because it’s a 2-0 pitch doesn’t mean you have to swing at it. The advance scouts know you’re going to and opposing pitchers know they don’t have to give in in those situations. On the brighter side, Jimmy Paredes (pictured) finally got enough plate appearances to qualify for the major league rankings and entered this week ranked third in the majors with a .344 average.
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The defense has stabilized since the return of J.J. Hardy (pictured) at shortstop and the Orioles are inching up the major league rankings in fielding percentage. They broke out of the bottom 10 (20th) last week after committing just two errors in six games, but even two would have been considered too many in previous years under Buck Showalter. Manny Machado made his ninth error of the season on Thursday, but seems to have settled back down after an uncharacteristically rocky start this season. And he’s still making the highlight shows on a regular basis. Orioles outfielders still aren’t hitting every cutoff man, which has to rankle their manager, but the defense was not the issue last week.
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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.