In the wake of Memorial Day, new Kansas City Royals hitting coach George Brett sat before an outfit of reporters at Busch Stadium, controlled rage streaming from his glare.
In what might be one of the most memorable press conferences in recent times, Brett said something any service member would love.
“Don’t try to be a hero,” the sparkplug Hall of Famer barked at his odorous Royals offense, according to Stan McNeal of USA Today. “Just be a soldier.”
Meantime, 800 miles east in Baltimore City, the once feast-to-famine Orioles now fields a hit brigade of “soldiers” that would make Brett proud.
Fresh off Friday’s thrilling 7-5 walk-off win versus the Detroit Tigers, Baltimore’s lineup sits in the top two in nearly every major league offensive category.
Through 55 games, the Orioles are first in home runs (78), runs (280), RBI (271) and total bases (895). Baltimore is also first in the league in slugging percentage (.464), and OPS (.794).
The Orioles are second to the Detroit Tigers for the league lead in hits (531) and team batting average (.275). Only the Boston Red Sox have more doubles than the 122 the Orioles have mustered.
More impressively, Baltimore has been able to achieve all this while cutting down on strikeouts (352). Only the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants have fewer dispatches than Baltimore. The league average for strikeouts at this point in the season is 409, per ESPN.
But wait! It gets better.
The Orioles also have 41 stolen bases this season. The Colorado Rockies lead the league with 44 swipes.
Things get even sweeter for Orioles fans when looking at individual statistics.
Not only is Chris Davis battling Miguel Cabrera for the Triple Crown, but per ESPN, four of the top 10 MLB leaders in hits are Orioles.
With 79 hits, Manny Machado trails only Cabrera for the league lead. Machado is also fourth in the American League in batting average (.331). Adam Jones is right behind Machado with 74 hits. Tied for seventh place is Nick Markakis. He has 70 hits. Last but not least, Davis is ninth with 68 hits.
Applied to American league hitters alone, four of the top seven hitters are Orioles.
With Nate McClouth nearing .300 again, and Matt Wieters and JJ Hardy starting to heat up, it is hard to imagine the Orioles offense slowing down for long periods of time.
For a team still fighting to get its pitching staff in order, this is great news.
It will be fun to see if the Orioles can continue their prolific stick-handling against the visiting Detroit Tigers.
For a solid showing against the second-best pitching staff in the AL may embolden the Orioles to believe they can hit anyone, anywhere, at any time.
James Morisette is the founder and chief editor at the Basebook Baseball Social Network. You can check out Basebook by clicking here.
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