The Orioles are Who We Thought They Were

Looks in mirror, snarls, preparing to be angry. Readies the Denny Green voice.


The Baltimore Orioles went to Oakland to play the Athletics. Kendall Graveman, Zach Neal, and Ross Detwiler were slated to pitch the first three games of the series. Oh boy! This should be a sure sweep for our first-place boys!

Or maybe not.

Yet again, a trio of marginal big-league pitchers shut the Orioles down, 3-2, 2-1, and 1-0. The bats were cold, the contact was weak, and the pop-ups were high. Then, a glimmer of hope, a few timely hits against another marginal pitcher, Andrew Triggs, who spent 2015 with the Orioles Double-A squad as a reliever.


No doubt, the three-game slump against the Athletics brought out the best Twitter hitting coaches in the business. Here are just a few of the problems with the Orioles these days:

  • They swing at too many first pitches (fun fact — the Orioles lead the league with a .384 BA on first pitches, have the most HRs, and the second-best OPS).
  • They don’t make pitchers work early in the count.
  • They don’t work the count.
  • They don’t steal bases or play good situational baseball.
  • They always swing for the fences.
  • They go fishing at too many changeups and curveballs.
  • They don’t change their approach at the plate with two strikes.
  • They watch too many first-pitch fastballs right down the pipe (kind of contradicts point one, if you ask me).
  • Their hitting coach isn’t particularly any good.
  • They refuse to make adjustments at the plate to break out of slumps.

I’m sure I missed a few, but that about sums up the angst of the general population of Orioles fans. These complaints also overlook the fact that Graveman, Neal, and Detwiler are in the top 0.00001% of human beings when it comes to throwing a baseball. So is Tyler Wilson. They are not a mortal lock to give up eight runs in two innings every time they take the ball.

For better, or for worse, however, this is the team, and it is not changing. The Orioles swing hard, early, and often. Their lead-off man, Adam Jones has a .321 on-base percentage, which is actually his best mark since 2012. Their four-through-eight hitters are batting well below .200 since the All-Star break. One half of their left-field platoon can’t hit left-handers, but his manager keeps using him in that role, reverse splits be damned.

Understandably, it is frustrating to watch the Orioles go down like an over-anxious Teener team facing the slow-tosser from the last-place team, but it’s a more than continuing trend. More importantly, it’s not changing. It’s not going to change. The Orioles are a collection of flawed, eager sluggers. They are the most slump-prone type of hitter. Outside of Hyun Soo Kim, and perhaps J.J. Hardy, no one is shortening their swing up with two strikes. That’s not what this lineup was put together to do. This is a lineup that was assembled to hit dongs, glorious, towering dongs. And lots of them.

That’s exactly what they’ve done all year, with a few hiccups along the way, and that’s what they will continue to do for the final 48 games of this arduous 162-game grind known as the Major League Baseball regular season. Short of calling up the entire Triple-A roster to start, there is no way the team will continue batting .225 for the rest of the second half. With the starting pitching coming around at the perfect moment, mid-October baseball seems well within reach. The hand wringing and gnashing of teeth over this week’s mini-slump is expected, but the slump itself should not be unexpected. The Orioles were always going to have rough patches like this. Just as easily as it came, it will pass.



One Response

  1. scott homewood

    good article! I agree. Hitting comes and goes, but pitching is consistent. And our rotation looks great right now. Bundy and Tillman are studs. Gausman and apparently Miley have more serviceable starts than bad ones; even Gallardo seems to have found a rhythm. 6 IP 3-4 ER’s is usually enough when our offense is hitting on all cylinders. I’m honestly more concerned about the bullpen. Since Bundy left, Brach, O’day(now injured) and even Britton to some degree have looked shakier than normal. I don’t want to experience a repeat of Jim Johnson blowing playoff games like 2012 all over again. Go Birds
    **Knocks on wood**


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