Not too long ago, the Baltimore Orioles offense was unstoppable, but in 2018, they’ve struggled to drive in runs.
It’s not that the Baltimore Orioles can’t hit. The Orioles outhit the Boston Red Sox in their series finale but were unable to score any runs in a shutout defeat.
The problem? The Baltimore Orioles are hitting way too many fly balls that are resulting in outs with runners in scoring position.
The Orioles rank fifth among MLB in fly ball percentage with 38.2 percent, only behind the Oakland Athletics (38.4 percent), Pittsburgh Pirates (39 percent), Cleveland Indians (39.1 percent), and the Minnesota Twins (40.1 percent), per FanGraphs Baseball.
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Line drives are what usually score runs for baseball teams. For the Orioles, they rank dead last in MLB for line drives with an 18.7 percent rate. The rest of MLB, with the exception of the Philadelphia Phillies, the rest of MLB is producing at least a 20 percent line drive rate.
The Orioles also have issues with opposite field hits and usually find themselves pulling the baseball. Per FanGraphs, the Orioles rank No. 26 in MLB in opposite field percentage with 23.9 percent.
Plate discipline is an area where the Orioles lack. In fact, they’ve produced 33.1 O-Swing percentage, a statistic that gauges the percentage of pitches a batter swings at outside the strike zone. Only the Detriot Tigers and Chicago White Sox have done worse this season in that department.
And we all know the Orioles don’t make much contact at the plate either. According to FanGraphs statistics, the Orioles 73.2 contact percentage ranks last among MLB. Lastly, only the Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks have lower on-base percentage than the Orioles who come in at .297 as a team.
Maybe it’s not the pitching for the 2018 Orioles, but rather the bats, an area where Orioles general manager Dan Duquette didn’t make much improvement on during the offseason.
Tonight, the Baltimore Orioles will look to kickstart their offense against the last-place Chicago White Sox as they open a four-game set at Comerica Park.