Tuesday, April 19, 2011

O's keep losing; offseason acquisitions not producing

Remember when the Orioles were wheeling and dealing in the offseason, bringing in several new players? Seems like such a long time ago, doesn't it? Well, the O's (6-9) are only 15 games into the season, but they've lost eight straight and simply have not been playing good baseball for the last week-plus.

Although the pitching has been far from stellar, the main culprit for the team's abysmal stretch is the lack of offense. Right now, the O's are hitting .226/.283/.368 as a team -- good enough for the third-worst batting average, tied for the worst on-base percentage, and the eighth-lowest slugging percentage in the majors. That's just not getting the job done, especially since the O's were supposed to have a much easier time scoring runs. Instead of a strength, the offense has been a huge weakness.

The players that Andy MacPhail brought in during the offseason also have not, for the most part, brought much to the table yet. Let's take a look (separated by hitters and pitchers):

Vladimir Guerrero: .242/.242/.306 (0 BB/9 K, 2 extra-base hits)
Derrek Lee: .204/.317/.278 (9 BB/13 K, 2 extra-base hits)
Mark Reynolds: .224/.304/.388 (5 BB/15 K, 6 extra-base hits)

That's right: The O's third- and fourth-place hitters have a combined four extra-base hits. Guerrero has yet to walk, which would be less of a concern if he was hitting more than a bunch of singles. But he's not.

J.J. Hardy is currently on the disabled list and has only played in six games. The O's also re-signed Cesar Izturis, who has already played in a handful of games, and as usual, provides pretty good defense and very little offense.

Koji Uehara: 4.2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 4 K, 2 BB
Jeremy Accardo: 6.1 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 4 K, 5 BB
Kevin Gregg: 5.0 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 5 K, 4 BB

Uehara is probably the best reliever in the O's bullpen, and even though it's early, his numbers reflect that. Accardo has been OK, but Gregg has been terrible. The O's are also proving that it's usually unwise to spend big money on relievers -- particularly mediocre closers. Michael Gonzalez (making $6 million this season) has been rather bad in his time in Baltimore, and Gregg ($4.2 million this season, $5.8 million next season) is already off to a terrible start.

There's still plenty of time for all of these guys to start playing better. And these new faces aren't the only players not producing; many of the guys who were already with the O's aren't doing much better. Still, the level to which the O's have been staying off the scoreboard is surprising. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be any other solutions other than to hope that the offense starts to click.

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