Baltimore Orioles: Hits and Runs are Hard to Come By


May 13, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) high fives shortstop J.J. Hardy (2) after scoring a run in the second inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

With only seven runs scored in the last 40 innings, the Baltimore Orioles are in a nasty offensive funk. Only Jimmy Paredes is really hitting the ball. He was 3-for-4 on Tuesday night against the Astros, while the entire rest of the team was a mere 2-for-25. The result was a 4-1 loss and dropping of the seasonal record to 20-23.

I was going to entitle this article something like, “Will somebody other than Paredes please get a hit?”

Yet honestly, when looking at the Orioles roster, there are more than a few guys with at least decent numbers. Adam Jones is at .310.  Manny Machado is hitting .280 – much of that production coming of late. Delmon Young stands at .287, and one can’t really complain about Caleb Joseph batting .274 – anybody would have taken that in the offseason as a really good number for him.

The sad result however of the rest of the lineup not producing much is that over and over there are runners stranded on base and possible rallies do not materialize.

Right now, there are three pretty regular holes in the lineup: Chris Davis, Steve Pearce, and J.J. Hardy. These guys are batting .208, .188, and .180 respectively. Each is pressing in a different way.

Pressing to prove he is not the strikeout king of the universe:  Chris Davis looks just about as lost and baffled as any player I’ve ever seen in my five decades of watching baseball. The numbers are brutal: 64 Ks in 42 games, 4-for-42 in the current slump. He is beginning to make the memory of Mark Reynolds into that of a contact hitter! About pressing, Davis said just last night

"I think we’re pressing a little bit. Myself, trying to go out there and do too much. I’ve got to swing at balls in the strike zone. That’s one thing. It doesn’t matter if your swing feels good or if it feels bad, if you’re not swinging at balls in the zone, you’re not giving yourself a chance. That’s probably the most frustrating thing for me."

Pressing to prove he is not a one-year wonder:  Steve Pearce had the great 2014 season (.293 with 21 home runs), which was one that many would have credited as being the key player in the O’s 96-win season. He had never done that before, and so far, he is not doing it again. Through 43 games of the 2014 season, Pearce was hitting .271, though most of his great numbers would begin to pile up after that time.

Pressing to be truly healthy and worthy of his contract:  J.J. Hardy is such a good athlete – a great guy with off-the-charts hand/eye skills. I fear he is a player with continual “nearby” health issues. His back is especially a concern. And there was the shoulder injury in the spring. He always looks to be a bit uncomfortable in his own body – stretching and twisting … and running the bases always has an appearance as if something is hurting.

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But when any one of these guys puts together a good game, good things happen for the Orioles. And when two or three of them are hitting, it is about all over for the other team. They just have not put anything consistent together yet in 2015.

And add to this that the corner outfielders are not exactly hitting the cover off the baseball. Something has to change. The historical record on all these players would indicate that it should change. But we are still waiting to see it happen.

Maybe today.

Next: Clevenger In; Lavarnway Out

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