Yes, I know, it’s another post on the Orioles hitting woes. I may be beating a dead horse, but after yet another terrible hitting performance by the Orioles last night in their 6-2 loss to the Rays I am starting to change my thinking on the Orioles lineup. I have gone back and forth, but generally I have agreed with Buck Showalter in the thinking that the Orioles hitting will come around. Their are too many veteran hitters with proven track records in the Orioles lineup for them not to start scoring runs eventually. I think this may be the wrong thinking.
The Orioles hitting hasn’t just been bad, it’s been awful. No one is hitting. As a team the Orioles are ranked 21st in the majors with 121 runs scored. This isn’t horrendous, but for a team that made soo many additions to its offense this isn’t acceptable. They are actually ranked 8th in baseball with 32 home runs, however, they are 21st with a .238 batting average. All those home runs don’t count for much if you don’t have runners on when you are hitting them. Even worse, the Orioles are 28th in baseball with a .297 on base percentage. Seemingly the Orioles best hitter this season, Vladimir Guerrero also has only walked twice all season! That .274 batting average may be second on the team, but it is also misleading.
After Robert Andino and Guerrero, no one on the Orioles has a respectable batting average. Luke Scott and Felix Pie have managed to hit around .250 and the rest of the team is batting in the low .200’s. One would have to think this won’t last. Or, maybe it will last.
There is a very real possibility that Orioles fans will be waiting all season for the bats to turn around and they never will. Think about it…you can look at the Orioles lineup and say they have proven hitters with track records, but you can also say you have older hitters who may be reaching the end of there best hitting days. Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero definitely fall into this category. Brian Roberts is only 33 years old, but after a injury plagued year maybe Roberts will never be the same player he was. Then you look at guys like Wieters and Jones and you basically see similar production as to previous years. They have been up and down. They will go on hot streaks while ultimately flaming out and reverting back to their inconsistent ways. It could just be that Jones and Wieters won’t be the star players fans were hoping for.
This leaves Markakis who still is in the prime of his career and should turn it around eventually. There are also veterans J.J. Hardy, Luke Scott, and Mark Reynolds. These are guys who have never been star hitters and will never be star hitters. So when the guys in the lineup who are supposed to be hitting aren’t and your left relying on these players, this is what happens.
There is no saying if the Orioles hitters will turn it around. There is a chance though, that they will not turn it around at all and the Orioles will be in big trouble. What should be done if Jones and Wieters don’t hit well enough to justify keeping them around for their great defense? What should be done with Roberts and Markakis if they don’t turn it around? This Orioles lineup which was supposed to be the answer going into this season has brought about more questions than answers so far.