Baltimore Orioles: Power wins in the AL East
Many fans like to say that the Baltimore Orioles use power as a crutch in a sense. In bringing back the likes of Davis (last year), Trumbo, etc, the Orioles are expecting to slug their way into the post season. And in the eyes of some, that’s misguided.
If you look at recent history, perhaps it is. The Cleveland Indians made it to the World Series last season playing small ball, and there are plenty of other examples of that. However what I would say is that the Orioles need to be a power team that can play small ball. There’s no reason that guys shouldn’t be able to bunt for a base hit, or sac bunt. That’s part of the game.
But that’s not how you win games in the American League East. It never has been and probably never will be. You win games in the AL East based on two things: power and pitching. The pitching part we know is a constant struggle in Baltimore. I’m focusing on the power.
How many AL East games are 1-0 or somewhere of the like? Not very many. You win games in the AL East by bashing your opponents’ brains in. Teams consistently win games 9-7 or 10-9. That’s just how it works.
While the Orioles do need to focus a bit more on OBP, if they started playing small ball consistently in their division, they’d lose a boatload of games. It’s perfectly okay to only score four runs in a game overall. But when your opponent is putting up seven, that’s a problem.
So my hope is that people try to understand that it isn’t that the O’s don’t want to work harder on their team OBP. The fact is that they need as much power as they can get. The other teams aren’t just going to change at will simply because the Orioles did. That’s not how it works! The American League East is always won or lost on power hitting at the plate. And good pitching…but again, that’s a totally different story!