Baltimore Orioles: Time to change philosophy?


Apr 14, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Everth Cabrera (1) slides into third base during the game against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a tough season to watch for Orioles’ fans, and probably just as frustrating for the players on the field. The struggles, it seems, have come in waves so far this season. At different points of the season the pitching, defense, and offense have all struggled for extended periods of time. They just haven’t found consistency in all aspects of the game for a prolonged stretch of games.

The most recent struggles have come at the plate. The Orioles have scored 3 runs or less in 12 games this month. On the other side, they have scored five or more in only five, and they won all five of those games. Unfortunately, that’s enough of a sample size to fear a developing pattern. Those results, however, may not be with the players, but with the philosophy behind the team’s playing style.

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The success of the past few seasons has been predicated on the ‘big inning’. It was part of the Oriole philosophy of pitching, defense and the three run homer. However, this season the Orioles are sixth in the American League in homeruns, and consequently tenth in runs scored. They seem to be waiting for the big homerun that just hasn’t come as frequently as it has in the past.

The reason is because the roster isn’t built in the way it has been in the past. Unlike recent seasons, the daily lineup just isn’t filled with the same consistent homerun threats. However, unlike recent seasons, the Orioles’ lineup does have more potential base-running threats, but it’s an asset that has been underutilized so far.

The Orioles have 13 stolen bases so far this season. That’s good for 29th in all of baseball. What’s worse is 7 of the 13 stolen bases have come from Manny Machado, who is hardly considered a terror on the base-paths. Disappointingly, stolen base threats Alejandro De Aza, Everth Cabrera and David Lough have stolen a combined for just 3.

Apart from just stealing bases, the Orioles still have several players who run well on the bases. However, tools like bunting for base-hits and hit-and-run plays have also been nonexistent to this point in the season. The result, it seems, has been a lot of waiting around for the big homerun that just isn’t coming.

The Orioles still have a roster capable of winning a very winnable division. However, if they want to make a run soon, they may have to do it using a style of play much different than the style they’ve used in the past.

Next: Davis back at first

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