Improved defense a key piece of the Orioles' surge

September 01, 2012|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

The Orioles spent the first half of the season committing fielding errors at an astronomical pace, but as they continue to close in on the Yankees in the AL East race, their improved defense is one factor that’s allowed them to compete.

At the All-sSar break, the Orioles had committed a major league-leading 75 errors through 85 games, an average of 0.88 errors a game.

Since the break, they’ve cut that mark in half. In 48 games since, the Orioles have just 21 errors for an average of 0.44 a game.

Rookie Manny Machado has played well at third base, where the Orioles had committed 24 errors before his arrival. Machado has committed just one error in 21 games – and that one was a questionable call that came after umpires reversed a call in Detroit.

Mark Reynolds made two key diving plays at first base in the Orioles' 6-1 win over the Yankees on Friday, where he owns a .993 fielding percentage. And former Gold Glove winner Nate McLouth is a huge upgrade in left field. McLouth made a huge defensive play on the Yankees’ first at-bat of the afternoon Saturday, making a diving catch on Derek Jeter’s liner into Yankee Stadium's spacious left-center field gap.

“It’s been huge,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I think Mark settling in at first base and Manny doing some things over there [at third] has been pretty solid. And [with] McLouth, we feel like [we have] three guys who have done well in [three places] we were struggling with a bit.

“It’s been big,” he said. “It’s one of those quiet things that nobody can really pinpoint but pitching-wise, I think pitchers feed off of that too in their aggressiveness, like Miguel [Gonzalez], really attacking the zone and trusting the defense [Friday].”

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.