The Birds’ defense is a major liability
Fresh off their seventh consecutive loss, the Orioles are struggling across the board, but it was their defense that took center stage over the weekend. The Birds made three errors on Saturday, dragging down an already poor pitching performance against the dangerous Yankees lineup.
Most of the defensive damage occurred during the sixth inning. Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez hit an easy double play ball to Manny Machado at shortstop, but Jonathan Schoop’s throw to first skipped past Chris Davis, allowing Sanchez to reach second. Next, Adam Jones misplayed a routine single to center field, allowing Sanchez to score and Didi Gregorius to take an extra base. One at bat later, Jones made a bad throw on a single by Aaron Hicks, good for the third and final error of the inning.
Those three errors weren’t the most costly — Gregorius and Hicks would have been on base anyway — but they did create a sharp contrast with the Yankees, who had a perfect weekend in the field. Perhaps it’s no surprise that the Birds have been worth 50 runs below average in Defensive Runs Saved, dead last in the American League.
Speaking of advanced metrics, Jones, one of the Birds’ most consistent offensive threats, has compiled -1.3 defensive WAR this year, tanking his overall WAR to -0.3. The Baltimore icon has provided obvious value at the plate, but like the Orioles on Saturday, potent hitting means nothing if you can’t prevent runs. Hopefully the O’s will take that lesson to heart in the weeks ahead.