The Orioles got off to a great start and then came crashing back down to Earth with a disgusting thud. Like a sack of wet laundry hitting the basement floor the Orioles are looking up at the rest of the division, once again, going into May.
Now, in all fairness, they are in last place largely by default (only one game separates them and third place and they are only two games out of second place). The team has shown some signs of life on the last homestand and even the offense had registered a thready pulse against the Red Sox before being shut down by Jon Lester yet again last night. But troubles still remain.
Vlad is starting to show a bit of his power in the last couple of weeks, batting .311 with a double; three homers and seven RBI. Luke Scott seems to be coming back from a slight groin strain with some amount of strength - at least you hope that is something that would be heralded by the monstrous homerun he hit of Josh Beckett Tuesday night. Derrek Lee's bat seems to be heating up a little bit as well. Over the last week Lee has hit well to the tune of a .364 average but with little to no real power. And, most importantly NO ONE IS WALKING!
The Orioles currently have the worst OBP in the AL sitting at an astounding .289! Why so low? Because the entire Oriole team has only walked 55 times so far this year. By comparison, the Boston Red Sox have almost twice as many walks as a team that the Orioles do. No one on the Orioles has more than nine walks so far this year. And that is simply mind-boggling. Its not as if the Orioles are striking out either, they have the fourth-fewest strike outs in the league right now, but they are hacking and don't have a lot to show for it.
The Orioles team BABIP is sitting at .261 almost 20 points below the league average so they have been hitting into some bad luck, they aren't finding grass. Combine this with the complete lack of walks it means that the Orioles are not getting hits with people on base as often as the rest of the league. Meaning fewer RBI and, ta da - fewer wins. When looking at their batting ratios as compared to the rest of the league the only things that strike any alarm are the BB%, XBH% and the AB/RBI. In all three of these categories the Orioles are well below the league average. And the low walk and XBH percentage is resulting in the Orioles getting an RBI every nine AB as opposed to the league average of eight AB per RBI. It may not sound like much at first blush but those missed opportunities add up over time and will definitely continue to cost the team wins if they do not improve.