The Baltimore Orioles open a three-game set against Cleveland this evening. It’s been going on all season long, however of late we’ve seen more and more balls flying out of the park. Unfortunately the majority of them are off of Oriole pitchers.
I’m a rational thinker, so naturally I want to understand why. I suspect that to some degree Oriole pitchers are somewhat predictable. They throw fastballs in fastball counts, and off speed pitches in counts which call for that. However as Buck Showalter said on numerous occasions, there’s no such thing as a fastball count anymore.
But this goes beyond that. Opposing teams are adept at anticipating what Oriole pitchers are going to throw. But they’re also able to anticipate where and when pitchers are going to miss in a fairly adroit manner. If the game situation calls for a slider, they’re fairly confident that the Orioles will dish out a slider. But the scouting report on that specific pitcher indicates that he often misses low on his sliders. So hitters are thinking low, and are ready for the pitch.
And thus far it’s been the opposing team scouting which has been spot on. And it’s killing the Orioles – the home runs, that is. Unfortunately I can’t tell you what they need to do to keep more balls in the park. That’s well above my pay grade. But what I can say is that they need to either try to keep the ball in the park, or figure out how to score more runs. Preferably both, for their sake.