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Orioles Hitting Woes Coincide with Their Pitching Struggles
Posted By Alex Van Rees On Aug 14 2011 @ 7:54 am In Baltimore Orioles | 1 Comment
As I explored in my last article, the Orioles’ pitching staff has fallen on hard times over the last two months of the season to say the least. Not only has their pitching struggled to keep their opponents to less than five runs a game, their offensive production hasn’t performed much better.
Although the Orioles’ offense enjoyed continued success throughout most of the month of June, their fortunes quickly changed for the worst in July as they lost 20 of the 27 games last month. August has proved to be even worse for the Birds and their record dictates this trend.
Over their last 55 games (since June 10th), Baltimore has managed to win only 15 of those contests, which equates to about a .270 winning percentage over that stretch. Although their pitching staff is faltering, their offense has not been able to bail them out of these tight predicaments and they’re in a free fall with no signs of resurgence.
The Orioles have not won a series since June 6th- June 8th when the swept the Oakland Athletics out of Camden Yards and they managed to climb within two games of the .500 mark at 29-31. Since then, they lost nine straight series, split a four game series against the Indians and they’ve dropped seven consecutive series coming into Saturday’s action.
June hitting stats
The Orioles played 25 games in the third month of the season, and they were playing almost .500 ball by the middle of the month (they sat at 30-31 on June 10th). In June, the Birds crossed the batted at a .286 clip, which ranked them 3rd in the majors (behind only the Tigers and Red Sox respectively).
The Birds collected 252 hits, crossed the plate 108 times and jolted 35 homeruns as a team. Not to mention, their team on-base percentage sat at .338, while their slugging percentage was .454 and their OPS finished at .792.
They jumped out to a great start at the beginning of the month by winning six of the first eight contests, which pulled them to within one game of the .500 mark. During those eight games, they tallied 33 runs (4.13 runs per game) and 69 hits (8.63 hits per game).
The Birds were only able to pick up five wins over their last 17 games in June due to the deteriorating pitching staff, even though their offense exploded for 183 hits (10.76 hits per game) and 75 runs (4.4 runs per game) over that stretch.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy stunned the Orioles faithful by batting .362 in 25 games in June; he collected 38 hits in just 105 at-bats, which is about 1.5 hits per game, and jolted a staggering nine homeruns and 18 RBIs. Not to mention, Hardy recorded a .409 on-base percentage, a .686 slugging percentage and a 1.09 OPS.
At the time of the Orioles’ pitching staff collapse on June 10th, Hardy had belted four homeruns and driven in seven RBIs. Over the remaining 17 contests, Hardy cooled off a bit, but continued his hot-hitting by hitting five more homeruns and driving in 11 more runners (he averaged a homerun every 2.78 games).
Right fielder Nick Markakis put together a successful month of June as well as he appeared in 25 games and batted at a .351 clip in 111 at-bats; he finished the month with the most hits by an Oriole with 39, but lacked in the power department as he only recorded two homeruns, but managed to drive in 14 RBIs. Not to mention, Markakis finished the month with a .371 on-base percentage, a .459 slugging percentage and a very respectable .830 OPS.
Markakis drove in six Orioles on June 10th (a career-high) and belted a homerun in the Orioles 7-0 victory over the Rays. After June 10th, he cooled off with the RBIs as he only recorded six more over the last 17 games, but continued to collect his hits to round out the month.
Slugging third baseman Mark Reynolds appeared in 25 games as well, and managed to hit .299 in the month, which is a great feat for him because normally he hovers around the Mendoza line. In 77 at-bats, Reynolds recorded 23 base hits, eight of which were of the long ball variety, and drove in 16 runners (he averaged a homerun every 3.13 games).
Reynolds smashed three homeruns and drove in eight RBIS within the first eight games of the month, and then continued on his power surge as he crushed five more homeruns and drove in eight more RBIs to end June.
Not only was Reynolds able to accumulate the homeruns, but he was also finding his way on base safely as he sported a .450 on-base percentage (21 walks), a .662 slugging percentage and a 1.112 OPS, which was the highest on the team that month.
So, although the Birds’ offense performed well throughout the month, their lack of pitching really hurt their record as they’ve spiraled out of control and cannot seem to pick themselves up.
July hitting stats
July was a month for all Orioles, with the exception of center fielder Adam Jones and designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, to forget as they only won seven games, compared to the 20 wins that the Red Sox recorded.
In 27 games, the Birds collectively batted .238, which was good for 24th in the majors (10th in American League). They recorded 215 hits (7.96 per game), which was 37 less hits than June and they played two more games!
The Birds scored the same number of runs (108), which averages out to exactly four runs per game, although they did smash five more homeruns (40 total); it’s hard to win ball games when your offense only scores four runs per game and your pitching allows more than six!
Their on-base percentage dropped to below .300 at .295 for the month, their slugging plunged to .419 and their OPS fell almost 80 points to .714.
Jones, who was one of their lone bright spots, hit .320 in the month and belted 5 homeruns and recorded 17 RBIs; in 103 at-bats in July, he collected 33 hits, and although those numbers aren’t that impressive, surprisingly, he put together the best month by an Oriole.
Guerrero was the only other Oriole to hit above .300 at .309 as he laced 17 hits in just 55 at-bats and lined three homeruns and drove in 7 RBIs; he missed 10 games due to a crack in his wrist after being hit by a pitch in Boston before the All-Star break.
Catcher Matt Wieters, who made his first All-Star appearance in mid-July due to his early success this season, really struggled this month as he hit only .235 with 20 hits in 85 at-bats over 23 games; his power numbers dropped as he only recorded three homeruns and a stunning four RBIs.
Hardy, who put together a career month in June, really struggled to find his stroke in July. He hit only .195 and played in all 27 games; he recorded only 22 hits in 113 at-bats, but continued to hit for power as he belted seven homeruns and finished the month with 15 RBIs.
Reynolds batted only .202 with 19 hits in 94 at-bats over the entire month, as he played in all 27 games as well. Like Hardy, he continued his power surge by smashing eight homeruns and matching Hardy’s 15 RBIs.
August hitting stats
So far this month, the Birds’ offense has struggled even more, if that’s possible. In just 11 games, they’re batting a collective .237 with only 90 hits (8.18 per game) and 48 runs (4.36 per game). Although they continue to collect homeruns (14 so far), they cannot seem to put together a string of victories.
They’re ranked 28th in the majors currently (13th in American League above rival Toronto Blue Jays), and their on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS statistics continue to decline (.278, .411, .689).
Although he fell on hard times in July, Hardy seems to have found his stroke as he’s smashed five homeruns and 13 RBIs in 8 games this month; he’s recorded 13 hits in 33 at-bats, which is good for a .394 batting average.
Besides Hardy this month, no other everyday player is hitting over .263 (Wieters is hitting .263 in 38 at-bats- 10 hits). Three everyday players are hitting below the Mendoza line (Reimold has six hits in 33 at-bats- .182 average, Guerrero’s recorded seven hits in 39 at-bats- .179 average and Reynolds has collected seven hits in just 44 at-bats- .159 average).
So, although the Birds’ offense performed well throughout June, their pitching troubles hurt their record and have spun them in a vicious losing cycle. It seems as if they’re able to collect their hits, but they just cannot get the big hit; they falter when it counts. July was an atrocious month hitting and pitching-wise and so far in August, it looks as if their fortunes have not changed.
Stats were gathered prior to Saturday’s game against the Tigers.
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