As the 2017 Baltimore Orioles schedule winds down, so are the Orioles bats as they continue to lose ground in the AL Wild Card standings.
The Baltimore Orioles offense is struggling down the stretch, and this wouldn’t be a big deal, except it happens every year.
When it comes to the end of the baseball season, there are a few predictable things in Baltimore.
- Attendance plummets
- More people will wear purple than orange
- The offense will go into a funk
Yes, I said that correctly, the offense would go into a funk.
The Orioles’ offense was rolling along not too long ago when they had won seven games in a row. Now you ask? Now they have scored 24 runs in their last eight games, and only five in their last four.
That isn’t going to cut it, even if you have four aces as your starters. The Orioles don’t have four aces, and some days you wonder if they even have five (or four or three) semi-capable pitchers.
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The Orioles have played five games in their last seven days. They are hitting .198/.235/.333 with six home runs and 11 runs scored. Eight walks compare to an ugly 46 strikeouts. It isn’t pretty.
In September, the Orioles have played nine games and are hitting .220/.260/.372 with 17 walks, 89 strikeouts, 13 home runs and 23 RBIs. For the season, the Orioles are hitting .265/.317/.448.
Let’s look back for a second, to prove this isn’t an anomaly.
In 2016, the Orioles hit .235/.305/.414 in Sept. and Oct. That’s compared to hitting .256/.317/.443 for the entire season.
That includes a playoff game where the team only scored two runs on one home run in 11 innings.
That’s against a pitcher, Marcus Stroman, who is 3-3 with a 4.29 ERA against them. Not great.
2015 saw the Orioles miss the playoffs by a few games. One point to blame could be the offense down the stretch. The Orioles hit .238/.314/.428 in Sept. and Oct. of 2015. Overall, the Orioles offense hit .250/.307/.421 in 2015. Despite a better on-base percentage and slugging, the Orioles offensive batting average was a different story.
What about 2014, you ask? In 2014, the Orioles were division champs and the second-best team in the AL.
In the last two months, they hit .248/.306/423, their second worst month of the season. Overall in 2014, the Orioles hit .256/.311/.422, so the numbers weren’t far off.
In their last two games of the season, in the ALCS against the Kansas City Royals, the Orioles scored one run in each game. That included one run off Jeremy Guthrie in five innings before being completely shut down by KC’s bullpen in the next four innings.
When you have the pitching like the Orioles do, you need to score more than one run.
2013 saw the Orioles hit .246/.303/.405 down the stretch, again missing the playoffs and again the second worst month of the season to July. (I’m not sure if July is due to the heat or what, but the Orioles don’t hit well in July.) Overall in 2013, the Orioles hit .260/.313/.431.
2012 saw the Orioles make the playoffs and win the Wild Card game before being ousted by the New York Yankees in the ALDS. This year was the exception to the rule, as the Orioles had their best month in Sept./Oct. hitting .257/.326/.445. Overall in 2012 the Orioles hit .247/.311/.417
However, in the playoffs, the Orioles scored five runs in the wild card game, and then 2, 3, 2, 2 and 1 runs to end their season. A total of 10 runs in five games. Not good.
You can see, for the last five years, the last month of the season hasn’t been kind to the Orioles. And even when they made the playoffs, they usually went out quietly, without a lot of offense.
- 2016, the Baltimore Orioles scored two runs in the last game of the season.
- 2014, the Baltimore Orioles scored one run in the final game of the season.
- 2012, the Baltimore Orioles scored one run in the last game of the season.
Sure, Sept. and October baseball is a different animal. When pitchers struggle in Sept., they have shorter hooks because the bullpen is stacked with pitchers. The playoffs usually see the teams with the best pitching succeed.
The Orioles don’t have the best pitching, so they need their offense to perform late in the season.
Much like 2016, the Orioles’ offense is letting the team down at the worst possible time. And with a rotation that is as weak as the Birds, they can’t expect to win 2-1 or 1-0.
The Orioles are on the precipice of missing the playoffs. If the offense doesn’t get it going against the Toronto Blue Jays in this upcoming four game series, that will be almost a certainty.