Orioles manager Buck Showalter is quite aware of his team’s struggles to get clutch hits with runners in scoring position. But don’t look for him to bring it up unless he is asked about it, as he was today.
“Just do it. We’ve done it and will again,” Showalter said. “It’s like what comes first, creating all these opportunities and putting people out there. There are two sides to that. Like Oscar Gamble used to say ‘when I’m in the batter’s box, I am in scoring position.’ Thought that was a great line.
“If you beat on them....they are aware of it to a fault. If they’re not, I’m sure some people here will make them aware of it. It’s something we’d like to improve on.”
The Orioles went just 4-for-29 batting with RISP in the Cleveland series. They are batting .151 (14-for-93) over their last 13 games and just .153 (36-for-236) over their last 32 games. In 96 games this year, 31 times the Orioles have not had one single hit with a runner in scoring position. They actually won 13 of those.
Showalter said yes, it is the pitchers who are truly in trouble in those situations, but experienced big league pitchers also take advantage of some hitter’s anxiousness in those key spots.
“Sometimes there are walks there in those situations,” he said. “What major league pitchers do in those situations is use the hitter’s emotions against them. Adam (Jones) has gotten better at that. You don’t want to penalize the want to. They want to do the job.”
Meanwhile the Orioles are back playing in the AL East with Tampa Bay in town tonight. The clubs have split six games this year after splitting 18 games last year and the all-time series is even at 123-123.
The Rays are 49-47 and have lost two in a row and 15 of their past 24 games. Since June 1, Tampa is 20-25.
Jones homers: Through four innings tonight the Orioles lead 1-0 without getting a single runner in scoring position. Adam Jones, taking a page out of Oscar Gamble’s book, hit a solo homer in the last of the fourth to snap the 0-0 tie. It was his 23rd of the year and came on a 1-1 pitch. The Orioles are 17-4 this season when Jones homers.