Jonathan Schoop had his first 4-hit game Friday night in Boston. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Clutch Hitting Powering the Baltimore Orioles


 

The Baltimore Orioles have found clutch hitting with runners in scoring position, even with two outs, to be the key ingredient for wins this year. Last night in Boston was a “good Friday” for the Orioles as they had consistent hitting to power them to an 8-4 win over the Red Sox. The Birds pounded out 15 hits and were 6-for-17 with RISP (runners in scoring position).

For this 2014 season so far, the Orioles are hitting .338 with RISP in the eight games that they have won (26-for-77). And this includes four of the eight games being low-scoring pitching affairs.

Over the last several years, even with the powerful hitting teams the Orioles have had, they have so frequently had problems hitting with this situational batting category of scoring runs when the opportunity was present.

In 2013, the Orioles were sixth in the AL with RISP at .266, though the numbers powering those stats often came in blowout wins. They were 11th in the AL with RISP and two out – batting at .231.

Currently this season, the Baltimore Orioles are batting .295 with RISP, which is first in the American League. The Texas Rangers are next at .271 (with the Red Sox at .212 by comparison). The Orioles are also the best in the even more critical and difficult situation of RISP with two outs. The Birds are hitting .284 (the Sox .188, the Yanks .185). These numbers are not likely to be sustainable over a whole season, but excellence in this category will go a long way toward success at the highest level.

Some Overall Statistical Rankings

While looking at some stats for this piece, let me share a couple of others that are both encouraging and disappointing for the Baltimore Orioles.

The O’s are 3rd in the AL in overall batting average at .268 (behind the Yankees at .277 and Rangers at .273. But the Orioles are next to last in homers with a total of only nine (Would you have believed that a few weeks ago?). The Orioles had hoped to improve their on-base percentage, but that is still a struggle, as they are 11th in the AL at .313.

On the pitching side of things, the Baltimore Orioles are slightly below the league average overall – tied for eighth in ERA at 3.93 for example. They are surprisingly fourth in walks given up, with only 44 (imagine where they’d be without Ubaldo!), but are dead last by far in strikeouts with only 94. This final stat is not surprising for any O’s fans who watch games and see the pitch counts rise with incessant foul balls. Why don’t more of the Orioles pitchers have “put-away” pitches?

Saturday in Boston

The Orioles have a 1:35 afternoon game today that will pit Felix Doubrant against Bud Norris.

Doubrant pitched against the Orioles on April 3rd and won a 4-3 game over Wei-Yin Chen. But he gave up three runs on six hits along with four walks in 5.1 innings of work. His other two starts this season have not been great either. He only lasted 2.2 innings against Texas giving up six hits and five runs. Doubrant did have a quality start against the Yankees in his last outing, with seven hits and three runs in 6.2 innings. The 26-year-old is 25-20 for his career, with a 4.70 ERA.

For the Orioles against Doubrant, it is a very mixed bag of results. Over his career against the O’s he is 2-2 in 41 innings with a 4.61 ERA. Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Matt Wieters have horrible numbers against Doubrant, while Chris Davis is 8-for-18 and Nick Markakis is 6-for-13.

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Adam Jones

19

2

0

0

0

0

1

8

.105

Chris Davis

18

8

2

0

1

3

0

2

.444

J.J. Hardy

18

3

1

0

0

2

2

4

.167

Matt Wieters

18

2

1

0

0

2

1

10

.111

Nick Markakis

13

6

0

0

0

0

1

3

.462

Manny Machado

10

4

0

0

1

5

1

1

.400

Nelson Cruz

8

3

1

0

0

1

2

1

.375

Steve Pearce

3

0

0

0

0

0

3

0

.000

Ryan Flaherty

6

2

1

0

0

1

0

2

.333

Delmon Young

4

2

0

0

1

2

0

1

.500

Jonathan Schoop

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

.333

Steve Clevenger

1

1

0

0

0

0

0

0

1.000

 

Bud Norris is making only his third start for the Baltimore Orioles this season. He had a rough game against the Tigers in his opener, but a week ago against the Jays he gave up no runs through seven innings.

Norris has not pitched a great deal in his career against the Red Sox. Over only 17 innings he is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA. Here are the few stats of Boston batters against him …

AB

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

Dustin Pedroia

4

1

1

0

0

1

5

0

.250

Jonny Gomes

5

1

0

0

0

1

1

1

.200

Mike Napoli

6

1

0

0

0

0

0

4

.167

Daniel Nava

6

2

1

0

0

0

0

3

.333

David Ortiz

6

1

0

0

0

1

0

1

.167

Mike Carp

2

2

1

0

0

1

1

0

1.000

Elian Herrera

1

0

0

0

0

0

2

1

.000

Will Middlebrooks

3

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

.333

David Ross

3

2

0

0

1

1

0

0

.667

Xander Bogaerts

2

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

.000

A.J. Pierzynski

2

1

0

0

0

0

0

1

.500

 

 

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