Nick Markakis has been starting to get base hits and his average is on the rise. Markakis is working on an 11-game batting streak, during which he is hitting .362 as the Orioles get set to open a series tonight at Oakland.
But here is a disturbing Markakis stat. He has just eight extra-base hits through 46 games and is on pace for just 28 this year. The last four years he has averaged 66 extra-base hits per season.
Why the power outage right now for Markakis, a player who usually cranks out doubles and sprays baseballs all over the diamond?
Last year, Markakis led the Orioles with 60 extra-base hits and that was his fewest total since his rookie year of 2006. Right now Markakis ranks eighth on the Orioles in extra-base hits.
O's current leaders, extra-base hits:
17 - Mark Reynolds & Adam Jones
14 - Vlad Guerrero
13 - Luke Scott
12 - Matt Wieters
11 - Brian Roberts
10 - Derek Lee
8 - Nick Markakis
7 - J.J. Hardy
The last four years, Markakis has averaged one extra-base hit for every 9.5 at-bats. This year he has one for every 23.6 at-bats.
His career OPS is .821 and this season it is .668. His career slugging percentage is .456 and now that figure is .344.
Markakis is getting some hits as the hitting streak indicates, but just not driving the ball right now. Some scouts have indicated he is making adjustments with how he holds his hands as the ball approaches and that could have his timing off right now.
I have said many times Markakis is the last player on the team I would worry about. Buck Showalter raves about him and his work ethic. He always seems to be in the video room.
So why are the extra-base hits not coming?
If Markakis or the Orioles knew the answer, they would obviously fix the problem. Right now one of the Orioles' best hitters is coming up short. But no one seems to have a real good theory as to why that is the case.