When the 2022 season began and the Orioles and their opponents were scoring so few runs at Oriole Park, we all seemed to figure this was due to the moving back of the left-field wall. It was tougher to hit homers and now it was simply going to be much tougher to score runs in Baltimore.
And this is what team officials wanted, right? A park that would play much more fair for offense and stop giving up popups into left field that seemed to carry out for cheap homers.
Some of the scores reflected that thinking and led us to think that way about the new-look ballpark. In those first six games at Camden Yards, the Orioles won 2-0, lost 5-4, won 4-2, won 2-1 in 11 innings, lost 5-2 and won 5-0. Not even the Yankees could put up big offense here, held to six runs in three games while losing two of three in their first series in the park.
They were not happy. Are they ever?
I digress. But the scores have been very different in some recent games in the ballpark. Games where the Orioles won by scores that came by 9-6, 8-6, 7-6, 9-2, 5-4 and 9-3.
Very different scores, very different results and suddenly it does not seem impossible to hit the ball over the left-field wall. The wall that is constantly discussed. The great wall of Baltimore. Walltimore. Camden Cavern.
Guess what? Enough already about the wall. Also guess what? Players can hit the ball over that thing and it doesn't take a miracle swing to do it.
Heading into last night’s game that was eventually rained out, the Orioles had hit nine homers in their past three games and 13 in the last six at home.
For the year so far, the Orioles hitters have a higher slugging percentage, OPS and home run numbers at home than on the road. They average 1.03 homers per game at home and 0.93 on the road.
And the Orioles are 15-15 at home and 9-18 away from Baltimore.
The O’s team offense at home shows a batting line of .229/.303/.375 and OPS of .678. The O’s have hit 31 homers in 30 games and average 4.23 runs per game in Baltimore.
The O’s team offense on the road shows a batting line of .228/.292/.364 with an OPS of .656. They have hit 25 homers in 27 games and score on average 3.59 runs per game on the road.
The great wall, huh? Nonsense.
The O’s pitchers, however, do fare much better per the stat sheet at home than on the road. The O’s team ERA is 3.41 at home to rank sixth-best in the American League. They show a 1.28 WHIP and .248 batting average against in home games and rank 11th and 13th in the AL in those stats.
The O’s pitchers on the road show an ERA of 4.91, next to last in the AL. And they also rank 14th in both WHIP at 1.39 and batting average against of .269 in road games.
As the weather warms and we see even more humidity in the ballpark as the summer continues to heat up, more balls may be flying out of Oriole Park. And our opinion of the wall may be very different than it was in April.
Good night on the farm: If you wondered if adding three of the Orioles' top 15 prospects could help the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, it did.
Last night, Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg made strong Triple-A debuts. The Tides also welcomed back Terrin Vavra, the O's No. 14 prospect per MLBPipeline.com, while Henderson and Westburg are No. 3 and No. 6, respectively.
With those three in their lineup for the first time, Norfolk led 8-3 in the fourth inning and went on to win by that score at Nashville to improve to 27-28 with its 12th win in the last 19 games.
Henderson blasted a solo homer to right on the second pitch he saw at Triple-A in his first-inning at-bat. The ball got out in a hurry for his ninth homer in 48 games. Henderson, now the youngest player in the International League, went 2-for-4 with a walk, adding a fourth-inning single.
Westburg went 2-for-5 with a run and a pair of RBIs on an RBI single and an RBI double. Nice debut for the pair at the Triple-A level.
Meanwhile, Double-A Bowie split a doubleheader at Harrisburg. Bowie is starting to finally play better now, winning seven of the last 11 games.
High Single-A Aberdeen got more solid pitching and swept a doubleheader at Brooklyn by scores of 1-0 and 4-1. In Game 1, starter Carlos Tavera allowed one hit in six scoreless innings. In the nightcap, Ignacio Feliz threw four scoreless with seven strikeouts.
Speaking of strong pitching, right-handers Carter Baumler and Juan De Los Santos combined to fan 16 batters as low Single-A Delmarva beat Fayetville 3-2. Baumler has thrown nine scoreless in three outings with 15 strikeouts. Last night, De Los Santos pitched six innings in relief, allowing one earned run and fanned a career-high 10.