Baltimore Orioles: Are the O’s positioning themselves wrongly?

The Baltimore Orioles lost their eighth straight game last night in Minnesota. Dean Kremer for the start, and put the Birds in a spot to win. Granted his stay line might not indicate that, but he did. That’s what you ask of a starting pitcher. Kremer’s line: 4.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 5 K.

There was some promise in this game from the Birds’ perspective. In the second inning it appeared they had hit into a double-play with one out, however the Minnesota infield bumbled the ball and everyone was safe. Cedric Mullins proceeded to smack a two-run single giving the O’s a 2-0 lead.

The promising thing wasn’t that they scored or that they had the lead. Throughout the losing streak that hasn’t been an issue. (The issue has been holding the lead.) But what was promising about that was that the O’s held their opponent accountable for their mistake. The inning should have been over. And as opposed to just recording the final two outs in a ho-hum manner, the O’s put two runs across and held Minnesota accountable for their mistake.

However Minnesota came right back in the last of the second. Polanco’s solo homer cut the lead in half, and Refsnyder’s RBI-double tied the game. Minnesota would later load the bases, and take a 4-2 lead by scoring on consecutive wild pitches.

One of those wild pitches was probably blockable by catcher Pedro Severino. But it trickled away. He did make up for that however with an RBI-double in the fourth inning. But Minnesota would put two runs across down the stretch of the game as well, before DJ Stewart smacked a solo homer in the eighth. The O’s would fall 7-4, again with their eighth consecutive loss.

Here’s an interesting point about that; how are the Birds positioning their fielders? I saw Minnesota outfielders making several amazing plays the past two games. Plays they had to work to make, but that they made. Saving balls from falling in by the skin of their teeth.

Other times the O’s were making good contact, but right at fielders. Conversely, it seems that opponents are using the entire field more than anything else. In Washington last weekend there were multiple shots down the lines which sent Oriole corner outfielders scrambling. A trend that has continued into Minnesota.

Are the O’s positioning their outfielders straight-away too often? Because they’re giving up shots down the line, and all but surrendering scoring position for opposing base runners. And there’s something about how opponents can position their fielders AGAINST the Birds which says that they know something about Oriole hitters’ tendencies that the Orioles don’t. That’s concerning.

The series in Minnesota concludes this afternoon at Target Field. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Minnesota’s Michael Pineda. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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