While the Orioles continue to rank at or near the top in several offensive categories, they’ve totaled the third-fewest strikeouts in the majors.
Why is this stat significant? Well, the Orioles ranked sixth in the majors last season with 1,315 strikeouts. So, you know, they’re not doing it as much this year.
Last year, the Orioles struck out 449 times in 1,829 at-bats in their first 53 games. This year, they struck out 337 times in 1,866 at-bats in their first 53 games.
The San Francisco Giants had the fewest strikeouts with 325 going into last night. The Kansas City Royals were next at 329, followed by the Orioles.
No Oriole ranks in the top 10 in the American League. Chris Davis has the most on the team with 48.
Last year, the Orioles had seven players who struck out 100 or more times. Mark Reynolds (159) and Robert Andino (100) accounted for 259 of the whiffs.
In 2011, the Orioles struck out once every 5.50 plate appearances. Last year, they fanned once every 4.68 plate appearances. Heading into last night’s game, they had struck out once every 6.09 plate appearances.
Is reducing strikeouts a big deal?
“You talk about it,” said manager Buck Showalter. “It’s a favorite subject of a lot of people who like to analyze or overanalyze things. But we talk about it. We talked about it before last year.
“Think some guys have made some improvements on their own. This isn’t a coaching staff that trumpets their own horn. It’s about the players. The players figure it out.
“There are no hitter’s counts any more. That’s changed about the game. We charted 2-1 counts all spring, what was thrown, and it was like 70-something percent off-speed. And that was spring training. Sometime during a game, look at what you think is a hitter count and see how many off-speed pitches are thrown. Maybe it’s just our guys.
“I’ll tell you one thing about us hitting 3-0 sometimes is it’s helped us draw more walks 3-0 because teams know you do it and they’re a lot more careful.”
If the Orioles need to bring up another reliever from Triple-A Norfolk, one name to keep in mind is former Boston Red Sox right-hander Manny Delcarmen, signed by the Orioles as a minor league free agent on Jan. 28. I’ve heard him referred to as a possible “next man up.”
Delcarmen, 31, hasn’t pitched in the majors since appearing in nine games with the Colorado Rockies in 2010. He’s been released twice and granted free agency twice.
Delcarmen is 1-2 with a 2.37 ERA in 17 games, with nine hits, eight walks, 15 strikeouts, one home run and nine holds in 19 innings. Left-handers are batting .133 against him, right-handers .161.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette was the Red Sox general manager when they chose Delcarmen in the second round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft.
Norfolk first baseman Travis Ishikawa remains day-to-day after jamming his thumb. He hasn’t played since May 23.
The back injury suffered by Tides infielder Jonathan Schoop came at a most unfortunate time. He was playing his best baseball, according to some folks in the organization. Better than they had witnessed from him.
Schoop has been told to rest for four weeks after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his lower back.