Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds is still batting below the Mendoza line and he still leads the team in strikeouts, but with a few big swings in the past week, he has shown why the Orioles were willing to trade for his big bat and worry about the other stuff later. Simply put, Reynolds is raking right now.
With three home runs in his past five games -- including his first career grand slam in Saturday's win over the Mariners -- Reynolds has overtaken Adam Jones for the team lead in home runs (10) and runs batted in (32). His two-run home run in the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game was the difference in the Orioles’ 3-2 win.
After hitting two home runs in April, Reynolds has hammered eight since. With 10 home runs through 60 games, he is on pace to finish the season with 27 home runs. But if he continues to drive the ball like he has the past month or so, he will come closer to reaching the numbers he put up his last three years in Arizona. He hit 28 home runs in 2008, a career-high 44 in 2009 and 32 in 2010 -- an average of 35 a season.
"I don't think he's missing mistakes as much," Orioles manager Buck Showalter explained. "So many times over the course of the season, he's fouled a ball back and everybody in the dugout, 'Oh, ah, just missed it.' Well, I think he's getting a little tired of that 'just missed it' stuff. He's been doing some damage."
That’s why you might want to wear riot gear if you’re sitting in left field when the Rays come to Camden Yards this weekend.