The Orioles' offense continues to score in bunches - and then snore in bunches - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

The Orioles’ offense continues to score in bunches — and then snore in bunches

The Orioles scored one run on Tuesday night, a solo home run by Jonathan Schoop in a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

Schoop’s homer was the club’s primary offensive threat – if you don’t count Manny Machado being thrown out at a home on an attempted sacrifice fly in the third inning. After that double play, the Orioles’ next 19 batters went down in order.

That’s three-up and three-down in six consecutive innings. Unacceptable.

They failed to do any real damage against lefty Andrew Albers, a 31-year-old journeyman who was making just his 13th major league start with his third different big league team. Albers held the Orioles to one run on six hits in five innings while Seattle’s bullpen was perfect for the final four frames.

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The Orioles are now 59-61 and have no chance to come back from the West Coast with a record at or above .500. They were one game under .500 when they left Camden Yards for the 10-game trek on Aug. 7, and that’s the best they can hope for after Wednesday afternoon’s rubber match at Safeco.

If they win, the Orioles salvage a 5-5 record on the trip: capturing one series, losing one and splitting one.

If they lose Wednesday, they’ll finish 4-6, and will have failed to win any of the three series on the West Coast.

So, the fate of an even road trip is in the hands of enigmatic right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez. How do you like that?

For all the teeth-gnashing about the inconsistency and unreliability of the rotation, let’s not lose sight that the Orioles again followed up on a strong offensive performance with a dud Tuesday night.

Here’s their pattern of runs scored on this road trip: 6, 2, 1, 7, 4, 12, 3, 11, 1. Wanna guess which four games they’ve won? Exactly.

Consider that on this trip, the Orioles have scored 47 runs and allowed 37 – and lost five of nine. Because they score in bunches and snore in bunches.

It’s a real frustrating offense to watch, simply because we see how good it can be and then immediately witness how lost it is the next day (or next inning). Manager Buck Showalter often explains away the inconsistency by citing how tough it is to hit against the best pitchers in the world on a nightly basis.

With all due respect, the four starters that have held the Orioles to three or fewer runs on this road trip were Orioles’ castoff Parker Bridwell, rookie Troy Scribner, the previously struggling Kendall Graveman and Albers. That’s not exactly the 1971 Orioles’ rotation here.

In those four losses, the Orioles walked twice and struck out 37 times. Hmmm.

This isn’t rocket science and it’s nothing new. Heading into play Tuesday night, the Orioles had the fifth highest number of strikeouts in the AL and third fewest number of walks. They also had the fifth most runs scored and third largest home run tally.

So, it’s not like this offense can’t score runs. It has scored more than 10 other AL teams. But it continues to be feast or famine due to its swing-and-miss penchant. The only easy explanation is that the individual hitters’ approaches aren’t consistent, varying wildly from game to game.

I’m sure some will blame hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, but it’s not as if he is changing his philosophy each game. It’s the way the hitters are executing that plan. The fluctuation has to be on them first, and then you can give credit to the parade of Cy Young winners they face nightly.

Manny Machado, Trey Mancini and Chris Davis combined to see 30 pitches Tuesday night — in 11 plate appearances. Davis saw eight in three at-bats and struck out twice. The Orioles saw a total of 113 pitches in 32 plate appearances, fewer than four per at-bat. That’s some ugly math.

Again, none of this is new. It’s been going on for years, well before Coolbaugh.

This is the type of lineup the Orioles have assembled.

When the aggressive, powerful hitters are on, watch out.

And when they aren’t, tune out.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    August 16, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Davis only struck out twice in 3 attempts? That’s a good sign isn’t it?

    • Dan Connolly

      August 16, 2017 at 9:07 am

      I’m sensing sarcasm?

  2. Osfan73

    August 16, 2017 at 8:50 am

    “…..individual hitter’s approaches aern’t consistent, varying wildly game to game.” Spot on!!
    This approach to me seems a very undisciplined one. I understand some adjustment game to game depending on the opposing pitcher maybe. All too often there’s no patience at the plate, no working the count.
    During the offseason I think it would be great if the Os could find one or two guys with a decent on base percentage, ones willing to be patient, work the count and look for their pitch instead of just taking whatever the opposing pitcher gives them. Beckham can help in this area but he can’t be the only one.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 16, 2017 at 9:09 am

      Beckham’s reputation is one of aggressiveness too. Not known to be an OBP guy. And Ks a lot. We’ll see.

      • Dpsmith22

        August 16, 2017 at 10:23 am

        This exact statement is very true and is why I laugh when I hear how great a deal this was.

        Hitters like Beckham rarely produce a decent batting averages nor do they have high OBP’s. Kinda sorta the things this offense needs, right?
        They are streaky and Beckham is showing that right now. That kind of approach creates, again, another inconsistent hitter, who gets exposed.

        Beckham will be a good, cheap, utility guy that will pop one occasionally. He is not going to be a mini-Manny. He is 28 and is who he is.

        I hope I am wrong.

  3. Dpsmith22

    August 16, 2017 at 10:16 am

    This entire roster is built on instant runs. That strategy matches well with our rotation. That kind of lineup isn’t consistent. 1 time since there was a world series, was it won by the team with the most homers, during the season.

    It’s a bad strategy, always has been and always will be.

    This roster needs balance and like legit talent, Duquette has been unable to acquire it.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 16, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      I wouldn’t say he hasn’t been able to acquire legit talent. But as far as balance, yes, it is something he has preached and not something he has been able to assemble effectively.

  4. Orial

    August 16, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Yes Dan the key word you stated was “aggressive”. Pitchers know that. Hopefully the young influx we have coming and some off-season moves will alter that slightly.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 16, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      You’d hope. Although this is not a new shopping list for this offseason.

  5. Homerago

    August 16, 2017 at 2:32 pm

    No one has expected the Orioles to score a bunch of runs every game. Nevertheless, when it’s apparent that the scoring will be be sparse, management dictates nothing that may alter the course of the game, except having runners thrown out at home plate on ill-advised attempts. Yet, management won’t ever sacrifice an out to move runners into scoring position or to change the momentum of the game.

    • Dan Connolly

      August 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m not against the bunt if it is the right personnel. The Orioles don’t have many guys who can bunt. Neither do most teams. Lost art.

      • ATCguy

        August 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

        And to me… that falls squarely on the manger & hitting coach. Bunting is literally the EASIEST thing to do, if learned correctly. You’re simply catching the ball with the bat. How hard is that?! Now, bunting it soft or hard… or left or right exactly where you want it are a bit more difficult, especially against an opposing pitcher who knows what you’re trying to do. But the basic execution is simple. I’ll never understand why players don’t practice it occasionally in the cage. I used to always bunt the first 3 or 4 pitches when I took batting practice on the field, or stepped into a batting cage. It took less than 60 seconds, and kept me sharp.

  6. Anton Pahomov

    August 21, 2017 at 9:47 am

    Nice!

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