Red Sox Standings Watch: Merry month of May has team on the rise

Mar 14, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price (24) looks on from the dugout against the Toronto Blue Jays at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 14, 2017; Fort Myers, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price (24) looks on from the dugout against the Toronto Blue Jays at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 30, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
May 30, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles third baseman Manny Machado (13) reacts after striking out in the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports /

Falling

Baltimore Orioles

When we last checked in on the standings a month ago the O’s were tied for the division lead. A lot has changed since then, as Baltimore has dropped eight of their last 10 to fall into third place.

Baltimore remains three games over .500, although they won’t have a winning record for long if they can’t stop their current slide. Their -5 run differential suggests they should already be under that mark.

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The offense appears dangerous on paper, although the Orioles bats have been a disappointment this season, ranking 10th in runs scored and OPS. This is a team that relies on getting guys on base and blasting multi-run homers but that strategy is backfiring. Baltimore is middle of the pack in home runs and 13th with a dreadful .311 OBP.

Chris Davis leads the team with 11 home runs. He’s also hitting a paltry .229 this season. His average and OPS actually are about the same as last season, it’s the home run and RBI pace that are lagging.

The most baffling reason for Baltimore’s struggles is the decline of their superstar third baseman. Manny Machado enters the month hitting .205 with a .691 OPS. This is a three-time All-Star who finished in the top-5 in MVP voting in each of the last two seasons. Why is he suddenly hitting like Pablo Sandoval?

The good news for O’s fans is that the power is still there, with 10 homers and 10 doubles. The brutal batting average is the result of a well below-average .218 BABIP, a staggering 85 points below his career rate. Considering he’s still hitting the ball hard, Machado’s offensive woes can primarily be chalked up to bad luck that will almost certainly reverse course at some point.