Whittling down the walks would work wonders for Orioles

A new manager for the Orioles likely will bring in his own pitching coach rather than inherit Roger McDowell. It’s the usual outcome. Few coaches carry over to the next skipper.

The ones that do should receive an award bearing Elrod Hendricks’ name.

Manager Mike Hargrove inherited Eddie Murray on his 2000 staff, giving him an extra coach and forcing Brian Graham, formerly on the Indians’ staff, to the press box as the “eye in the sky.” Graham also was given the title of “offensive and defensive coordinator.”

I ran out of football-themed jokes about 15 years ago.

Murray wasn’t the only holdover from former manager Ray Miller’s staff, though he switched from bench coach to first base coach. Also returning were Hendricks, third base coach Sam Perlozzo and hitting coach Terry Crowley.

Anyone know the record for fewest changes to a coaching staff following the hiring of a new manager?

Sammy Ellis replaced Bruce Kison as pitching coach. Jeff Newman was named bench coach after following Hargrove to Baltimore.

One year later, Mark Wiley returned to the Orioles for his second tour as pitching coach and Tom Trebelhorn was promoted to third base coach. Perlozzo replaced Newman as bench coach. Graham also left the organization to become the Marlins’ field coordinator.

So much for Hargrove bringing over his own guys. They lasted one season.

Anyway, McDowell took the brunt of the criticism for the staff’s bloated ERA and the failure of first-rounders Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman to finally blossom in Baltimore, but what’s he supposed to do about the obscene walk totals?

No one should be under the impression that McDowell observed bullpen sessions or made trips to the mound during games and said, “Keep nibbling,” or, “Put it anywhere but in the strike zone.”

The Orioles walked 589 batters this season, the second-highest total in the American League and sixth in the majors.

Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes Jr. averaged 7.7 walks per nine innings before returning to the Yankees. Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo averaged 5.8 before hitting the disabled list and staying on it.

Zach Britton averaged 5.7 walks per nine innings while trying to work himself back into elite closer shape following his Achilles surgery. Brad Brach averaged 4.4 before heading to the Braves. Donnie Hart averaged 5.6, Miguel Castro 5.2, Tanner Scott 4.7, Ryan Meisinger 4.3, Mike Wright Jr. 3.8, Sean Gilmartin 3.7, Paul Fry 3.6 and Mychal Givens 3.5.

Yefry Ramírez averaged 5.0, Andrew Cashner 3.8 and David Hess 3.2. In limited exposure to the majors, Evan Phillips averaged 10.1, Cody Carroll 6.9 and Josh Rogers 3.9. Luis Ortiz walked three batters in 2 1/3 innings. Jhan Mariñez walked nine batters in eight innings, reported a hamstring injury while warming up in the intense heat in Texas and never threw another pitch for the Orioles.

Thumbnail image for Tillman wiping sweat white .jpgChris Tillman averaged 5.7 through seven starts before the Orioles finally cut bait.

Jimmy Yacabonis lowered his walks per nine innings from 6.1 last summer to 4.1 in 2018, an average that’s still too high, but at least improving.

The Orioles need their guys to more consistently locate the plate or find someone else who can do it. The walks are killing them.

Assuming that McDowell doesn’t return next season - and the Marlins reportedly have contacted him - perhaps the new hire can say something like, “Bases-loaded walks aren’t good,” or, “Falling behind in the count to every batter might come back to haunt you,” or, “Nothing good comes from a leadoff walk followed by two more walks.”

Notes: Still no announcement from the Orioles on a new hire, but the industry perception remains that they will bring in a president of baseball operations, who in turn will hire a GM-type. And yes, it’s still going to come from outside the organization.

Left-hander Chris Lee started yesterday for Glendale in the Arizona Fall League and notched two scoreless innings with one hit, three walks and two strikeouts.

Jay Flaa let two inherited runners score and allowed three hits with four walks in 1 1/3 innings. Tyler Erwin allowed one run but no hits in his one inning, walking three batters, striking out three and hitting two.

Center fielder Ryan McKenna led off and went 2-for-4 with a double, walk and two runs scored.

Today’s question: Would you consider Scott as the closer next season, continue to use Givens in the role or find someone else?

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