In my game recap last night I mentioned in passing that the Baltimore Orioles keep running into good pitching in their games. First and foremost, that’s very true. Whether it’s an “A+” starter or a guy that’s just really on his game that day, It seems that the Orioles consistently pick the wrong day to face guys.
But could we also be seeing a bit of the inverse as well? Look at yesterday as an example; Danny Salazar is an average pitcher for the most part – he has a 3.79 ERA for this season. His stuff was very good yesterday without a doubt. But was he good, or did Oriole hitters make him look good?
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There will be some who will argue that it’s 100% on the Orioles. And it may well be. To say the least, it’s partially on them. I’ve said this previously, however the Oriole hitters can be very “un-dynamic” at times in terms of where they hit the ball. Ironically we saw Adam Jones with a double to right field yesterday, and Chris Davis with a bunt attempt.
But when hitters hit the ball to such specific points on the field, it allows teams to shift their defense to accomodate that. So a pitcher can get away with a bad pitch here or there and not have to worry too much. It also allows him to throw more and more pitches out of the zone so as to fool hitters. In effect, if you swing at balls they’re going to throw you balls.
But we’d be remiss if we said that in some cases the O’s haven’t gone up against guys pitching the games of their lives. That was true a couple of times in Houston, and it was true yesterday. As Buck Showalter often says, sometimes you just have to tip your cap. And there’s something to be said about that. But what can be done about it?
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Especially now that the Birds are starting to get some guys back from injury, I would submit that they need to start trotting out a more consistent lineup. The whole thing with guys batting at different points in the order and playing different positions can sometimes show versatility, however at a certain point I think it also confuses guys. This is not to say that there can never be any variation from the norm (obviously Wieters won’t catch everyday). But I would submit that having a similar lineup day in and day out would help this team. Time will tell.