The Orioles recently went through a six-game stretch in which they scored 33 runs. That run ended in the first game of their series at St. Louis, which they won 5-3. Since that game last Tuesday, they have scored one, three, two, zero, one and two runs. That is nine runs in six games. They are 1-5 in that stretch.
The O’s lost the opener of this week-long homestand 6-2 to the New York Yankees last night as New York took the opener in the four-game series.
While the Yankees improved to 26-9 and are 19-3 their last 22 games, the Orioles fell to 14-22 and have scored five runs during a four-game losing streak.
At 14-18, before this losing streak, the Orioles were on a 71-win pace. Now they are playing .389 ball. That's a 63-win pace.
There are still things to like about this season – the improved bullpen, Bruce Zimmermann’s start, the arrival of Kyle Bradish and the team’s winning record at home to name a few – but the last few days have produced dismal results.
The Orioles will try to get that reversed tonight but their lineup is scuffling without Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle right now and Jorge Mateo didn’t play last night either.
Tonight's a new chance to reverse their recent trend.
Chirinos and his offense: New Orioles catcher Robinson Chirinos has fit in well for the O’s behind the plate so far. It’s been pretty seamless as he learned a new pitching staff and their various strengths and weaknesses.
But when he is at the plate – in the batter’s box – that has been a very different story. His OPS was .445 in 79 plate appearances when last night’s series with the Yankees began. That is 300 points behind his career number of .746 and more than that behind what he produced with the Chicago Cubs in 112 plate appearances in 2021, which was a .778 OPS.
His career OPS-plus of 98 shows he is just two percent under league average for those 672 games. But batting .134/.266/.179 to start this homestand put his OPS-plus at a dismal 36. Then he went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against the Yankees to drop his average to .129.
Why so far under his track record? Just a slow start or is there more at work?
“I think so (of the slow start theory),” he said before Monday’s game. “It’s been hard. It’s been hard, to say the least. This is a tough start to the year, but I know what I can do at the plate and been working really hard to get it going," he said. "Hope it starts showing up tonight. I felt better (Sunday) and need to build on that and start giving this team what they know I can do at the plate."
I asked Chirinos if he draws on the experiences he may have in getting out of previous slumps.
“Yeah, big time. I don’t think I have anything like this in my early career when I was a rookie, but definitely I understand more now what I need to do to get over this. Just have to keep working and I know it’s going to show up in the game.”
Chirinos would not bite on a theory that having to learn a whole new pitching staff and adjust to a new team was impacting his offense.
“I mean, that is part of being a catcher. No excuses for what is happening with my hitting. I just have to do better hitting and I know I can do it," he said.
On the farm: Of 120 full-season minor league teams – four each for all 30 MLB clubs – just two are playing .700 ball or better right now. The O’s high Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds team has the best record in all of the minors at 24-7, playing .774 ball. The Minnesota Twins' high Single-A club, Cedar Rapids, is playing .727 ball at 24-9.
Aberdeen has won 14 of 16 games and has a plus-60 run differential for the season. Aberdeen is home tonight versus Rome at Ripken Stadium with right-hander Houston Roth (2-0, 3.38 ERA) on the mound.
This begins a stretch where Aberdeen will be at home for its next nine games and will be home for 15 of the next 18 games.