Tonight, for the second time all season, Ryan Flaherty will be starting for the Orioles. Flaherty struck out three times in his first appearance this season, but give the kid a break, it was his first ever-legitimate major league game. His first appearance came as a pinch runner a few days earlier but that Sunday in Toronto was his first full-time action.
To this point, the Orioles have lacked major production from the bench… and their starting third baseman.
Here are the Orioles bench players and their current stats:
Endy Chavez: Chavez is hitting .143 with a .226 on base percentage and has one RBI. Chavez had a great spring but that has not carried over at all into this season. Chavez’s playing time is increasing due to the injury of Nolan Reimold. Chavez scored the go ahead run in the eighth inning against the Angels on Sunday; however he has been a real liability fill in at the leadoff spot.
Nick Johnson: Poor Nick Johnson. It seems like the only positive aspect of Nick Johnson so far this season is his old-school stache. Johnson has started several games this season as the DH and in 23 at bats, Johnson has, drum role… ZERO hits. ZERO, ZILCH, NGATA! To add injury to insult he has reached base three times, two times because of a hit-by-pitch. I feel for the guy who is a quality locker room veteran and is coming back from injury. He had a productive spring, however, his play however has been lousy to say the least.
Ronny Paulino: Paulino has undoubtedly been the most pleasant surprise. He is hitting .381 and has made solid contact every time he puts the ball in play. To this point he would be the Orioles best DH.
Many informed Orioles fans have been wondering for the past week why the Orioles haven’t tried something new with the lineup. No signings, no call-ups. Ryan Flaherty is a super-utility player who plays every position in the infield and outfield. With Reynolds troubles at the plate and the field it seems logical that Flaherty and Betemit could swap at third base every so often for defensive purposes.
It has been surprising Showalter hasn’t used him in left field. Though Chavez would be the better defender of the two, Flaherty proved he could really put the bat on the ball in Spring Training. For most of Spring Training, Flaherty was hitting above .300. He finished the spring with a .283 on base percentage and was called upon to be the utility man for Baltimore.
Buck Showalter has made it a priority to get all of his guys in games consistently. He has been true to his word for about every player but Flaherty. It’s time for Flaherty to get a shot to earn more playing time. The Orioles can’t go much longer with Reynolds and Johnson’s strikeouts and averages. We’ll see tonight if Flaherty can make a positive impact in the lineup.
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