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Orioles Offense Gets Share Of Blame For Disappointing 2017

October 3, 2017
While most of the blame for the Orioles' disappointing 2017 season can be meted out to their poor starting pitching, their offense certainly shares some of the responsibility.

In his Oct. 1 season-ending media session, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette talked about the team's shortcomings and said: "We still score plenty of runs to win the game."

However, while the Orioles hit home runs -- 232, fifth in the American League -- they scored 743 runs, eighth in the AL.

After getting within a game of the second wild-card spot Sept. 5, the Orioles went on to lose 19 of their final 23 games, thanks in large part to an offense that averaged 3.3 runs a game during that stretch. Four of the 12 shutouts they suffered this season occurred in the final 11 games.

Poor on-base percentage was again a problem for the Orioles. It seems like every offseason the club vows to improve in that department, but the Orioles' .312 OBP this season ranked 13th in the AL.

"We aim to have a good team here every year, and we aim to have another good team next season," Duquette said. "Obviously, there's a lot of work to do."

Next year, the Orioles may have to alter the number of games their regulars play, center fielder Adam Jones suggested. Jones was one of five regulars to play at least 146 games, with second baseman Jonathan Schoop leading with 160.
"Everybody on our team, we post up," Jones said. "That's the style that we play with. It's the style that [manager Buck Showalter] has implemented in us is to show up and play, but we need days off.
"We need more blows. Once it starts to get hot, June days, we need a blow. We don't need a rest the first 50 games of the season. We're riding up there because of the new season and all that. There's times when we're dragging tails, and we need a day off."

Jones missed the final five games of the season with leg soreness, and while he hit .308 in September, he didn't hit a home run and drove in just five runs.
Others had much poorer finishes. Third baseman Manny Machado, who played in 156 games, hit .210 with seven RBIs in September. In an effort to get Machado more opportunities to drive in runs, Showalter moved him from second in the lineup to third for the final five games, but Machado didn't drive in any runs during that stretch, finishing with 95 RBIs.
First baseman Chris Davis hit .165 in September, striking out 38 times in 85 at-bats. Designated hitter Mark Trumbo hit .186 during that span and finished in a 2-for-25 slump.
Shortstop Tim Beckham, who ended the season sidelined with a strained hamstring, had the second-most hits for a month in club history when he had 50 in August, but he dropped down to 16 hits in September and batted .180 for the month.
Davis was bothered -- as were many fans -- by his numerous strikeouts. 
"I think there were times when I felt good and for whatever reason I wasn't able to consistently produce, and then there were times where I felt like it was kind of an uphill battle," he said.
"I think that's where you see a lot of the called third strikes. That bothers me. And anybody who's watched me play at all over the past few years knows I'm an aggressive hitter. I like to swing the bat. I think that's obvious. So, that in itself was inexcusable, and it's extremely frustrating. But I think there are definitely mechanical things that I can do to give myself a better chance and, ultimately, at the end of the day that's all you can do."
There were positives offensively. Despite a subpar last month of the season, Schoop will get some votes for AL Most Valuable Player, and if not for the New York Yankees' Aaron Judge, Trey Mancini, who made a laudable transition from first base to the outfield, would be a contender for Rookie of the Year.
Also, Orioles catchers ranked fifth in the major leagues with a .276 average and second with 31 home runs.

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox