Here is a bad stat that simply must get better for the Orioles and certainly should get better.
Derrek Lee and Nick Markakis are batting a combined .133 with runners in scoring position at 6-for-45. Lee is 2-for-22 and Markakis is 4-for-23.
I am going to go out on a limb here and say there is no way that number continues too much longer. There are signs recently both are starting to get their offense in gear and that would be pretty big for this team since they bat second and third in the order.
Markakis had that big three-run double on Sunday in Chicago and is 4-for-13 during a three-game hit streak. He has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. Very modest numbers to be sure, but he's had some better at bats lately and just appears ready to break out to me.
Lee went 3-for-4 last night and is batting .345 over his last seven games with three multi-hit efforts. After producing just two RBIs the first 22 games, he has four RBIs the last five games.
I've said many times that I just won't ever worry about Markakis. He's been too good for too long for that. I am just convinced the hits will be coming and they might be coming in bunches shortly.
At 35 and coming off a year where he was bothered by a thumb injury, Lee could be a different story. I certainly see him performing better than he did in April, but concerns that age has caught up to him must be considered.
On the other hand, it could just be a slow start. I guess we will know more after more games. He hit .260 last season with 19 homers and 80 RBIs. I would think numbers in that range are still reachable for him this season, especially if the guys around him get the bats going too.
The Orioles' offense continues to be a work in progress. It can't function on all cylinders until some key hitters, guys like Lee and Markakis, start hitting better.