The Orioles have scored 21 runs in their first five games to rank sixth in the American League. They are fourth with a .260 team batting average and third in homers with seven.
But the club has struggled in this series and so far this season when batting with runners in scoring position. The Orioles are just 2-for-23 (.087) the last two nights and 6-for-41 (.146) in that stat through five games.
“It’s kind of like the team that has trouble shooting free throws and you go out and there and say ‘today we are going to shoot 100 free throws in practice,’ ” manager Buck Showalter said during his pregame media session. “Makes the coach feel good and then the first time you get on the line in the game you think ‘we’ve been having a lot of trouble with this’ and you clank it.
“There is a fine line about drawing too much emphasis on something like that. The players got it, they understand it. It’s almost trying to get them to relax and let the game come to them.
“So many times with a man on third and one out, there’s a walk there waiting to happen. When you get to this level, the guy out there knows what is going on to. He knows there is a base open and he knows he can get you out, out of the strike zone. He’s willing to walk you to set up the double play.”
Showalter’s team went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position last night and, in several of those instances, one big hit would have possibly been enough to help produce a win.
But it didn’t happen.
“We did a good job with it this spring, when you take the emotion out of it,” Showalter said. “Guys that have emotional at-bats, that is something you see, that the good teams don’t do. It’s a big part of the game, a key moment with the fans on their feet.
“Adam (Jones) knows it so well, he wants it so much. Some hitters, without mentioning names, on other clubs, it’s like no one else is in the ballpark when they are hitting or pitching. You have to stay away from emotional at-bats.”
Nolan Reimold is 3-for-5 so far batting with runners in scoring position, making the rest of the club a combined 3-for-36 (.083).
Here are how the O’s are doing when batting with runners in scoring position so far this year:
Robert Andino: 1-for-4
Wilson Betamit: 1-for-5
Endy Chavez: 0-for-0
Chris Davis: 1-for-4
J.J. Hardy: 0-for-7
Nick Johnson: 0-for-3
Adam Jones: 0-for-2
Nick Markakis: 0-for-3
Nolan Reimold: 3-for-5
Mark Reynolds: 0-for-5
Matt Wieters: 0-for-3