Rob Long: Orioles’ Plan Of Attack
The Baltimore Orioles opened up the 2014 baseball season optimistic that they can hit any line up in the American League. With proven players such as homerun and RBI champion Chris Davis and Adam Jones anchoring the middle of the order and Major League Baseball’s best homerun hitting shortstop for the past three season in J.J. Hardy, the Birds have a line up that is as potent as anyone’s in baseball. So, with that being said, what’s the problem with the offense?
We know, the pitching staff hasn’t been stellar, but there have been a couple of wasted gems from the guys on the bump. Chris Davis hit his first homerun of the season on Sunday and the team ranks in the bottom half in many offensive categories.
It’s early and there’s no need for panic but it’s not to early to make a few assessments. As I discussed on the Vinny and Rob Show Monday, it seems more like the O’s have an agenda and not a plan at the plate. This was a similar assessment I made with former Baltimore Ravens Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron three years ago, and I see some similarities with the Orioles’ offense. It looks as if batters are going up with their minds predetermined with what they “want” to do offensively.
I know he had the worse season of his career in 2013, but Nick Markakis has a solid approach to hitting. Often you’ll see him go to left field on pitches, crossing up the opponents’ defense. He’s not afraid to go with the pitch.
Another thing it doesn’t seem Nick is afraid to do and that’s hit with two strikes. While I’d love to see him go after fastballs early in the count on occasions, Markakis’ fearless approach at the plate is the reason he’s not offering at many pitches early in the count. I’ve seen too many Oriole hitters go after the first pitch after the hitter in front of them were walked because of an obvious lack of control by the opposing pitcher. That’s a lack of a plan. Then again, maybe there is a plan but as of now, it’s flawed.
Some have accused the O’s of being one dimensional. I don’t think I agree with that. They can do a lot offensively, I just think they’re stubborn. That’s what I mean when I say they have an agenda. They know what they are going to do when they approach the plate and that’s what it seems they do, regardless of what they’re saying.
I believe this team will snap out of this offensive slump, but I don’t think it has to last a long time. Change your approach. Show some patience at the plate and execute a plan.