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The Orioles have been all over the place the last couple of weeks, but it’s tough to fault the offense for the way they fell off the map for two days in New York. They averaged just under five runs per game against the Yankees and spread them out evenly over the three games. During the more-uplifting home-and-home series against the Nationals, they only scored fewer than four runs once in the four interleague games, and that was almost excusable against a very dominating Max Scherzer. The good news is that the home runs are coming in bunches again, especially from Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis, and Manny Machado is on a big roll at the plate. He hit .394 last week with three homers and seven RBIs. The bad news is that Adam Jones came up with a sore hamstring at a time when he had been swinging the bat very well. This upcoming homestand will be a reality check against the Blue Jays and Yankees.
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The steady Orioles defense had a couple of hiccups over the weekend, but O’s fielders consolidated all of their errors for the week in a three-error performance on Friday night. They have inched up the defensive rankings for the past three months and now rank fifth in the major leagues in fielding percentage and fewest errors. Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop both made spectacular plays in Sunday’s victory over the Yankess, and there is no doubt that they are the most dynamic 5-4-3 double play combination in the game. That’s taking nothing away from J.J. Hardy, who is steady as a rock at shortstop. The outfield has been a different story. The loss of Jones did have a significant impact on the club over the weekend and the outfield situation also is affected by Steve Pearce’s balky elbow.
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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.