The Baltimore Orioles live by the home run, and at times, they die by the home run.
The Orioles’ batters hit home runs about every 28 plate appearances, which proves to be the best in Major League baseball. Nelson Cruz hits a home run every 13 at-bats, and two other Oriole players hit a home run in fewer than 20-plate appearances.
The Orioles hold a 44-23 record when they hit a home run in a game, which is an impressive 21 games above .500.
The Orioles have hit 119 home runs. Nick Markakis has fewer hits (118) than the Orioles have home runs.
The Toronto Blue Jays have hit 119 home runs in 99 games. The Orioles have reached a mark higher than that in two fewer games.
The O’s have gone 12 consecutive games with a home run at a one point in the season and only four consecutive games without one.
The majority of the Orioles runs come via the home run, and because of the consistency, the Orioles win.
When the Orioles do not homer, they are 9-21, counting as well the loss to the Oakland Athletics Sunday afternoon. With the consistency in hitting home runs, this does not seem like a problem, but as the season progresses, this will become a problem for the Orioles.
They have to begin to score runs without the home run. Once August comes around, the hot days are going to make for tired players, and tired players do not hit consistent home runs.
Some may believe that pitching is needed for a postseason push, but the Orioles’ pitching follows the offense. If the offense does well, the pitching often follows up with a good outing.
The teams the Orioles have to compete against have strong pitching, not allowing as many home runs. So the Orioles have to begin to draw more on small ball, or other extra base hit combinations.
The Orioles now head to Anaheim to face the Angels, who have the second-best pitching staff when it comes to allowing home runs. And separated by only three home runs allowed, the Seattle Mariners sit at eighth in the American League in home runs allowed.
There really is no other, because scoring runs almost solely by the home run will not cut it in a playoff push. There has to be a combination of small ball and home runs.
If the Orioles can do this, they will become even more dangerous on the offensive side of the ball.
Home runs are impressive and a great asset, but if the Orioles can score runs through a high OBP and hit well in RISP situations, the opposing pitchers will build their pitch counts more rapidly.
The more pressure the Orioles can put on the opposing pitchers the better they will play. The quicker the opponents’ bullpen has to come into the game will only lead to bigger innings for the Orioles.