Of all the ways a team can win a ballgame, a walk-off homer has to rank right up there. Nolan Reimold’s two-run homer to win the game in the 10th against Chicago last night was certainly exciting.
The longball is fun and the Orioles are hitting their fair share. Consider these numbers:
* The Orioles have now hit 134 homers on the year and that is one more than last year’s team hit all season. They are on a pace to hit 190 homers, which would be the most by an Orioles team since the 1997 squad hit 196.
* Since June 1, the Orioles 86 homers leads the majors. They have hit two or more homers in 27 of 61 games since then.
* The Orioles became the first team in the majors this year to have three players with 20 or more homers.
* The Orioles and Toronto are the only two American League clubs to have 10 or more homers from their shortstop and third baseman.
But all those homers have not translated into wins. While the Orioles rank fourth in the AL in home runs, they rank last in the AL in wins.
They do lead the majors in homers since June 1, but have a record of 21-40 in that time. They have a losing record this year in games where they hit a homer at 38-43.
You would be right to say that poor pitching is the bigger reason for the losing than hitting home runs.
Hitting homers is not a bad thing. But I do think homers can be overrated. The Orioles are scoring a little more this year, averaging 4.1 runs per game, up from last season’s 3.8 mark.
But I prefer an offense that has variety. It has some players with speed, some gap-to-gap hitters that crank out a lot of doubles and has some high on-base percentage players that draw walks and work the count. A good offense features solid situational hitting.
The Orioles offense could definitely use more players that work the count, take pitches and escalate a starter’s pitch count, thereby hastening a teams’ move to its bullpen.
The home runs are nice. An offense with variety would probably produce more runs and wins, though.