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B: The Orioles are still trying to pump up the volume on offense, but last week’s average of 4.4 runs per game was enough to deliver five victories in seven games, including the last four in a row. The distribution wasn’t exactly balanced either, with a huge chunk of the offensive punch coming from Manny Machado, who thumbed his nose at the Boston Red Sox and continued to hammer the ball against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend. Machado had four home runs, eight RBIs and seven runs. Trey Mancini snapped out of his first major league slump to deliver eight hits in 13 at-bats (.615) and six RBIs in just four games. Seth Smith was the table-setter the Orioles hoped he would be, batting .467 with a .529 on-base percentage, and Mark Trumbo’s bat has come around. He led the team with nine hits (.333). Overall, the Orioles batted a respectable .271 but continue to score sparingly. They rank 19th in the majors with just 132 runs this season.
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B-: Like last year, the Orioles have had some early-season hiccups on defense, but they continue to sustain the banged-up pitching staff with terrific infield play. Orioles fielders committed four errors for the week, three of them in the two losses to the Red Sox. They remain in the top third of major league teams in fielding percentage (ninth) and tied for seventh in fewest errors with 16. That’s all good, but not up to their usual standards. You certainly don’t often see them blow a rundown play.
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Every week of the regular season, 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.