Let’s just get this out of the way — Adam Jones‘ gum had nothing to do with Friday night’s loss to the Yankees.
April 4, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles center fielderAdam Jones
(10) and left fielderNate McLouth
(9) misses the fly ball during the ninth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. though the Orioles defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3. Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Is worth noting however that the Orioles have now made some really crucial miscues defensively. Friday it was Jones, in Boston, Nate McClouth dove for a ball that he should have played on a bounce and two runs scored, Chris Davis let a ground ball go by him against the Twins at home which led to a loss. . . I could actually keep going.
The Orioles started playing really well last season when their defense was solid. True, lots of other things were going right for them, but it’s tough to battle back when you’re constantly giving away hits and runs. Last year, the addition of Manny Machado really improved the infield, allowing Mark Reynolds to shift over to first. The outfield defense was solidified with the addition of Nate McLouth (though for much of that run nick markka is was injured). The right pieces seem to be there this season defensively, many of these mistakes seem to be mental.
The season is young — really it is, please don’t panic! — so it could be that the every day grind hasn’t quite come together for the position players. Certainly it is more difficult to get into a groove when every day seems like a different start time, and the O’s have still only played 3 home games out of 10 total, so there has already been a fair bit of travel.
There is no doubt that the defense can pull it together, no matter what the issue is. Entering Friday’s game, the team ranked 8th in the league in fielding, but some of these poor plays pointed out were not scored as errors. More importantly they seem to be coming in big situations.
The potential for this defense is high, with machado and hardy on the left side of the infield and hopefully a healthy Brian Roberts coming back in a couple of weeks. Hopefully the team is getting it all out of their system early.
Once the defense improves, the rest will fall into place. And maybe they’ll turn a triple play, too.