Some nights the Orioles are very aggressive at-bat and here is why (plus Gibson faces the O's)

ST. LOUIS – The Orioles have had many nights this year where they have been an aggressive hitting team. And many nights where that works out well for them.

They began last night leading the American League in runs per game. But they also ranked 14th and next to last in walk rate and they are 28th in the majors with a walk rate of 7.0 percent. American League average is 8.2.

The O’s hitters, on average, see 3.80 pitches per plate appearance to rank 11th-most in the league and league average is 3.88 per PA.

Yes, they rate low in walks, but high in runs scored and they rank first in the majors in slugging and sixth in MLB in team OPS where they are also third in the AL.

In an extended answer before last night’s game, manager Brandon Hyde explained why many nights the O’s are an aggressive hitting team that sometimes hunts pitches early in counts and why they like it that way.

“It’s a pick your poison,” said Hyde. “You’re facing Sonny Gray, George Kirby, (Luis) Castillo, those type of guys. They aren’t going to walk you. And go look up their numbers with two strikes. It’s not in your favor. And they have plus stuff to put you away with. Plus stuff to get ahead and plus stuff to put you away with.

“So, on certain nights, when you face guys like that, you want to be a bit more aggressive. And if you get to two strikes, you try and battle the best you can. The last few starters we’ve faced are such low-walk guys. Kirby, we jumped on and he’s not going to walk you either.

“But we haven’t faced anybody lately that is spraying the ball around where I feel like we are being overly aggressive on a guy that has poor command. If it’s a poor command guy and we’re making first-pitch outs, then that’s an issue.

“But somebody like the guys we’ve been facing, that is going to be in the strike zone the majority of the night and you don’t want to get buried in the count, you know so you try to take the best at-bat you can.”

Fans would say yes but the O's have not hit much so far in St. Louis, and they would be right. But the Orioles scored 18 runs and won a series at home before this in three games against a strong-pitching led Seattle team. One that has won two straight against the Yankees allowing a total of seven runs.

Overall this year, the aggressive approach has the O's near the top of the stat sheet in many but clearly not every, significant category. 

Gibson faces the Orioles: St. Louis right-hander Kyle Gibson said he is very much looking forward to today and competing against his former Orioles teammates.

Gibson keeps in touch with several players in the Baltimore clubhouse and the Orioles were reunited with their former pitcher Monday night here.

Gibson went 15-9 with a 4.73 ERA for the 2023 AL East champion Orioles and was among the AL leaders in wins, innings and quality starts. O’s manager Brandon Hyde was raving about Gibson as an Oriole before Monday’s series opener at Busch Stadium.

“Top five best teammate I’ve ever been around. What he was like in the dugout, in the clubhouse, a leader that would speak up. Make sure people were acting appropriately and professionally. All that stuff mattered to him and there are guys in here that are very, very fond of him. Myself included,” said Hyde.

In the St. Louis clubhouse Monday, Gibson was equally enthusiastic about his time with the orange and black.

“It was special,” he said. “The people in the clubhouse and the organization, media, everybody made it even more special. Obviously we had a great team. A young team that really got to watch a lot of guys grow up and takes steps in their careers. Obviously this year they are taking bigger ones. The run we had last year is something I will remember for a long time. 

“A lot of things happened when I was on the mound, whether it was the sprinkler at second or the homer hose for home runs. You know, a lot of those little things. And things happen every day in the clubhouse that don’t get seen on camera, but I think watching young players be comfortable and come into who they are on and off the field is something I’ll remember from that team. Watching them have success, for the first sustained time at that level, was something that was pretty special.”

Seeing the Orioles make another playoff run and maybe another run at 100 wins is what Gibson expected to see from his now former club this year.

“Not too surprised by it. You guys get a front row seat every day and the fans do too to a really good team. Not surprised how they are playing. They believe in the guys they have, and they believe in those young players to keep getting better and taking steps and this year they have,” he said.

St. Louis signed Gibson to a one-year deal for $12 million in November and it includes an option for the 2025 season. He has gone 3-2 with a 4.09 ERA for his new club.

But he still keeps close tabs on his former one.

“Got a lot of text messages from guys before they got on their plane (Sunday). Stay in touch with a lot of those guys and they know if they need anything they can always reach out,” he said.

How about pitching against the O’s today?

“I have always enjoyed facing former teammates. It’s a lot of fun for me. Competition when its someone you don’t know it’s still there. But when it is someone you do, you text after the game, ‘Hey you got me or I got you.’ It adds to it. I don’t have this feeling to make sure I get them or anything like that. But knowing the friendship we have and now competing at the highest level against them it adds another layer to it,” said Gibson, who has allowed two earned runs or less in six of his nine 2024 starts.

Suspended game to resume: The O's and Cardinals game was suspended by rain right before the last of the sixth last night. That is where today's play will resume with the score tied 1-1. Then 30 minutes later, Gibson will face his old teammates in the series finale game.

The Yankees lost again last night to Seattle and their lead atop the AL East is 1.5 games over the Birds as play begins today.

There will one game blog published today shortly before the resumption of play and use that game blog for your comments throughout both games today.  




O's game blog: The suspended game resumes with ano...
Quick Q&A with Trey Mancini

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