One theory for the Orioles’ lack of offense late this season is that several players are tiring and that they’ve simply been asked to play too much this year.
That theory makes some sense when you see a team struggling to score runs like the 2013 Orioles have been late this season.
But as a counter point to that, I took a look at five key players that are basically playing about as much as they played last year, when the team was thriving late in the year.
The 2012 Orioles went 19-9 in September with a team batting average of .270, 47 homers, a .806 OPS and they averaged 5.46 runs per game.
The 2013 Orioles are 10-10 in September with a team batting average of .234, 22 homers, a .671 OPS and 3.85 runs per game.
You could also look at the pitching and I did. The 2013 O’s actually have a better September ERA than last year at this time by 3.17 to 3.35.
So the big difference is the falloff on offense.
Here are some individual players and their stats from September 2012 and September 2013.
Davis 2012 - .337 avg, 8 HRs, 17 RBIs, 1.071 OPS.
Davis 2013 - .213 avg, 4 HRs, 12 RBIs, .717 OPS.
Hardy 2012 - .270 avg, 4 HRs, 14 RBIs, .720 OPS.
Hardy 2013 - .312 avg, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, .829 OPS.
Jones 2012 - .303 avg, 6 HRs, 13 RBIs, .886 OPS
Jones 2013 - .250 avg, 5 HRs, 11 RBIs, .802 OPS
McLouth 2012 - .298 avg, 5 HRs, 9 RBIs, .863 OPS.
McLouth 2013 - .224 avg, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, .659 OPS.
Wieters 2012 - .299 avg, 5 HRs, 17 RBIs, .942 OPS
Wieters 2013 - .246 avg, 2 HRs, 12 RBIs, .688 OPS.
Davis has 33 more at-bats than last year and McLouth has nearly 300 more, but those are major league at-bats and McLouth spent most of 2012 in the minors.
Hardy right now has 98 fewer at-bats while Jones has 21 fewer and Wieters has 25 fewer. The point is these players played a lot last year too and hit better late in the year last season. They didn’t tire then.
Maybe it comes down to expectations and the pressure the team feels to repeat last season’s success. We can’t put a stat on that. We also truly can’t know how much of a factor it could be.
The theory that players are tiring or need more rest is interesting and worth discussing, but the stat sheet from the last two seasons shows we can poke holes in it.
Whatever the reason, the 2013 Orioles haven’t played nearly as well as the 2012 Orioles did this time last year.