There has been a lot of focus recently on the Orioles’ pitching and the starting rotation and for good reason. Since giving up just five runs in a three-game series against the Nationals, the Orioles have allowed 52 runs in losing five of six games.
They have allowed 13 homers with a team ERA of 8.17 in that stretch and yes, that is terrible.
But at the same time, the Orioles’ offense, which put up amazing numbers in that home series with Pittsburgh in mid-June, has not come close to doing that since then.
The Orioles scored 27 runs in the three-game series with the Pirates but they have plated just 39 in the 15 games since for an average of 2.6 per game. They have scored two runs or less 10 times in those 15 games.
Maybe the lack of consistent runs led to the pitchers feeling the pressure to produce even more, and everything fell apart over these last six games.
I have had fans call my radio show and say, ‘How can they win with players like Ryan Flaherty, Steve Pearce and Steve Tolleson in the lineup?’
Well, they were winning with those players in the lineup. The answer is you don’t count on those guys to carry the offensive load, but your big guns like Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Matt Wieters, Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis. Then the other guys don’t have to do so much and you can win with them.
While Wilson Betemit is hitting well now, batting .472 during an 11-game hitting streak and Jones went 6-for-13 with three doubles in the last three games of the Cleveland series, too many others are still not producing much on offense.
Davis is 5-for-46 (.109) over his last 13 games. Hardy is 7-for-58 (.121) over a 14-game stretch. Reynolds is 3-for-38 (.079) with 16 strikeouts the past 13 games. Brian Roberts has just one hit his last 25 at-bats over the last seven games.
Reynolds’ power outage has hurt this club. Last season, when he hit 37 homers, he averaged one longball every 14.4 at-bats. This season he is producing one every 29.5 at-bats and slugging 100 points less than 2011.
The top and middle of the order guys must start producing more consistently on this team. Maybe as he knocks off some rust and gets regular at-bats, Jim Thome will help this offense. That is why they traded for him.
How can they win with guys like Tolleson, Pearce and Flaherty on the field? If the big guns get their hits, they can win with them.