Over the last month, watching this Orioles' offense has been about as enjoyable as watching Robb Stark have his life ended by the miserable Roose Bolton during the infamous "Red Wedding". There was so much potential for the the King of the North, but his life was prematurely ended by those he thought he could trust.
Like the O's, we thought we could trust the bats. At this point of the season, the once-mighty Baltimore offense has become, well, mighty frustrating.
Though it's strange, because the Orioles' offense we've learned to love didn't stray from the successful recipe last month. In fact, the O's cooked up a big meal of destruction the first month of 2015. The team's 29 HR's were third in all of baseball, while the 122 runs in 20 games was fourth-best. The Orioles were second in slugging with a solid .482%, even with an on-base percentage ranking fourth. Yes, Adam Jones' .400/.440/.707 April slash pumped a lot of good into the team's overall numbers, but you still have to account for Steve Pearce's and Alejandro De Aza's (may he DFA in peace) dreadful starts.
Heading into the second month of the season, the expectation for regression was reasonable, but c'mon, this Orioles' team looked like they were sailing straight into the high seas of blasting other teams out of the water with offense, even as the pitching seemed to be on the rise. The month of May debunked that theory, and just as this dreadful month is soon to end, the numbers reveal that what we've been seeing on our television sets and at Camden Yards has been bad. Just plain bad.
For starters, in 23 games this month, the Orioles have only managed 75 runs, an average of 3.3 runs per game. The team is currently last in all of baseball with 172 hits in May, including a lowly 28 doubles (29th overall) and 19 home runs (22nd overall). Buck Showalter watched his team's OPS drop from a gaudy .827 to a disturbing .629, including a downwards BABIP of .330 to .274.
We expected Jonesy to fall back a tad, but not to the tune of a .237/.276/.290 slash, and even more, Pearce is still trying to find any sort of relevancy at the plate (.180/.241/.380 in May). We know Chris Davis strikes out more than your average major leaguer, but a monthly 44.8 K% can't be described as simply "frustrating". And as much I will always love Delmon Young for last October's legendary bases-clearing double, his attempt to be the run producer in the middle of the order, especially with his lack of natural power, has lead to many a-Twitter rants.
Jimmy Paredes can't be the only guy to get on base and knock in runs too. It just can't work that way.
In terms of batted ball, the Orioles were smack-dab in the middle of the league when looking at line drive percentages (20.9%), but a soft-hit percentage of 20.8% was fourth-lowest in baseball. If you take into account a low BABIP with a lot of at-bats that end with routine plays, that isn't a case of bad luck, that's just not squaring up the baseball. To make matters worse, Fangraphs' plate discipline numbers tell us that the Orioles swung at the second-most pitches outside of the strikezone, while not producing enough contact to justify the decision-making at the plate.
Our friends at Eutaw Street Report pretty much summed up the recent woes at the plate with one simple Tweet, bringing to light the mounting headaches the Orioles are currently facing, and creating when up to bat.
Let's ignore the sadness of how stoked we are for a shallow sac fly from our "cleanup" hitter.— Eutaw St. Report (@EutawStReport) May 27, 2015
It really is strange that fans have to muster any leftover excitement, and for a "Seven Nation Army" chant to break out over a cheap sacrifice fly, has to be a moment in time the Orioles could not have believed would be possible after so much potency at the plate. On the bright side, J.J. Hardy is still struggling with his timing, but he's looking more and more comfortable as the days pass. Paredes is still hitting the hell out of the baseball, there's no way Jones makes his current power outage a habit and Davis' two-homer performance is at least a bright spot in what has been a miserable stretch for the big fella.
The month of May may as well have been labeled NSFW, but there's still plenty of time to turn it around. It's possible these last 25 or so games become a pattern, but it's also likely that this past month was just an aberration for what is to be a successful season at the plate with some very talented hitters.
For the love of God let's hope it's the latter.