ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Orioles have been held hitless with runners in scoring position in 10 of their last 24 games. They've been limited to one hit in six other games.
That's not easy to do, even if you're trying.
The current streak is 0-for-22. I don't know if records have been kept, though I'm guessing Elias has them. It will be worth checking if the Orioles take another 0-fer tonight against the Rays.
Matt Wieters went 2-for-4 last night and is batting .335 lifetime against the Rays, his highest average vs. any opponent. He's sporting a .389 average at Tropicana Field.
Wieters will be tested tonight. He's 3-for-15 lifetime against Jeremy Hellickson.
Adam Jones is 7-for-22 with a double and three homers against Hellickson.
I didn't expect fans to react with such anger over the Pat Neshek trade. All I can say is the Orioles didn't have a spot open for a one-inning right-handed reliever. It's that simple.
Then again, they were willing to make room for Jonathan Broxton while discussing a potential deal with the Royals last weekend before he was sent to the Reds. I suppose there were exceptions.
Neshek probably had an opt-out clause in his contract and the Orioles had no place to put him.
And speaking of opt-out clauses, we finally should know today whether outfielder Nate McLouth is joining the Orioles or another organization. I'm not sure if this qualifies as edge-of-your-seat news, but it's certainly become a curiosity.
McLouth is batting .245/.325/.461 with 10 homers and 33 RBIs in 47 games at Triple-A Norfolk. He's a career .246/.335/.420 hitter in parts of eight major league seasons.
My complaint is that the Orioles don't need another left-handed hitting outfielder with Nick Markakis, Endy Chavez, Chris Davis and Ryan Flaherty on the roster. They also added left-handed hitting middle infielder Omar Quintanilla. Eliminate Lew Ford to make room for McLouth, and the Orioles lean too heavy to the left, which has been an issue since they designated Steve Pearce for assignment.
Manager Buck Showalter also seems more inclined to limit Wilson Betemit to the left side of the plate, further tipping the scale, but he did lose Jim Thome, which frees up Davis to be the designated hitter on most nights.
Ford, by the way, is 1-for-15 since the Orioles purchased his contract from Norfolk. He's fighting to keep his roster spot.
McLouth is a career .254/.345/.444 hitter against right-handers and a career .223/.303/.349 hitter against left-handers. He's a career .258/.387/.419 hitter with runners in scoring position.
Nothing that really jumps out at you here, but he once hit 46 doubles and 26 homers and drove in 94 runs in a single season. OK, it was 2008 with the Pirates, but it happened. And he's got a good glove.
Chavez has pretty much been reduced to a defensive replacement because he's hitting .190/.222/.281. It's conceivable that, with two months left in the season, the Orioles eat the remainder of his $1.5 million contract. It's not going to choke them.
It could be Ford, it could be Chavez, it could be nothing more than another minor leaguer opting out, which has happened a few times this season.