So far, 2013 hasn't been much different. Yes, the Orioles are only 1-3 in one-run games and haven't been to extras yet; but their games have been dramatic nonetheless.
All that being said, the Orioles have not depended on one player to bail them out in all of those close games. While some have been more clutch than others, it's been a team effort. Wednesday's ninth-inning comeback against the Red Sox is a good example of that, as Ryan Flaherty, Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth all reached base with two outs to give Manny Machado a chance.
Still, like every team, the Orioles have certain players that the team and fans alike hope to see up in a close game. These are the players that give the O's the best chance at victory when the game is on the line.
Adam Jones, CF
Overall, the Orioles' best player, without much of a doubt, is Adam Jones. He's got every tool needed to be a superstar and his clutch performances last year make him the man many O's fans want to see bat with a chance to win the game.
Despite somewhat mediocre .258 average with runners in scoring position last year, it's Jones' late-inning performances that garner the "clutch" label. In 2012 Jones hit six home runs, drove in 14 runs and hit .300 in the ninth inning or later.
And so far this season, Adam Jones has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball. The 27-year-old's current line stands at .462/.475/.667, while driving in 10 runs and scoring 11 himself.
Two of his RBI came in Thursday's rubber game against the Red Sox, which the O's won 3-2. His RBI single in the fifth tied the game at two, while his RBI single in the seventh gave the Orioles the lead that they never relinquished.
It's still early and he won't hit .400, but Jones could still be a MVP candidate as he did finish sixth in last season's voting.
Chris Davis, 1B
Possibly the only hitter hotter than the aforementioned Jones is his teammate Chris Davis. After four games, Davis racked up four homers and a historic 16 RBI, the most ever in the first four games of a season according to Elias Sports and ESPN Stats and Information:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Chris Davis has 16 RBI in 4 games. That is the most RBI in a team's 1st 4 games in MLB history (h/t @EliasSports) #ChrisDavisFacts4/5/2013, 10:56:08 PM
Davis has been April's MVP, as his numbers currently stand at .400/.500/1.100, with six home runs and a league-leading 19 RBI. He's hitting .500 with RISP, and last year he hit .294 in that category, so it's pretty easy to see why Davis is a player that the Orioles and their fans want to see up when the game is on the line.
Manny Machado 3B
This may seem like an unlikely choice, as the 20-year-old has only been in the majors since last August, but it's hard to argue with his poise.
The former third overall pick in 2010 has struggled a bit so far to begin this year, but has seemed to get it going over the last couple of games. After hitting the game-winning three-run home run on Wednesday off Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan, Machado went 3-for-4, picking up a couple runs in Thursday's win.
Machado has quickly become a fan favorite in Baltimore. Whether it be because of his previous clutch performances or his calm demeanor, the Orioles and their fans have no worry and plenty of confidence when Manny comes to the plate in a close game.
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