Ori­oles of­fense is bor­ing

Baltimore Sun - - FROM PAGE ONE - Bruce Knauff, Tow­son

I must re­spond to the re­cent cov­er­age of di­min­ish­ing fan sup­port for our Birds (“De­clin­ing crowds at Cam­den Yards con­cern Ori­oles, fans and busi­nesses,” Sept. 21).

My jaw drops when no men­tion is made of the Ori­oles’ un­ex­cit­ing of­fense. Yes, un­ex­cit­ing. The pitch­ers should en­ter a class ac­tion law­suit for non-sup­port from Bird bat­ters. Sure, we’re set­ting a long-ball record this year, and if you’re into the Home Run Derby, maybe you’ll keep at­tend­ing. As of­ten as not, our pitch­ers are keep­ing us in the game, but when we have high-pro­file, highly paid, idol­ized hit­ters who strike out in whole­sale num­bers — very of­ten strand­ing run­ners on base — why wouldn’t fans get dis­cour­aged at low run pro­duc­tion? And of­ten they’ll stay home.

Note how few steals the O’s at­tempt and how rarely we bunt (even with a run­ner on third and less than two out). And then no­tice how in­fre­quently the hit-and-run is tried and how of­ten even no-name pitch­ers make our heavy hit­ters look silly with the bat on their shoul­ders or flail­ing at pitches out of the strike zone.

First, we­need to ac­quire re­li­able sit­u­a­tional hit­ters and speed on the base paths. That’s Gen­eral Man­ager Dan Du­quette’s job.

In ad­di­tion, the Ori­oles are sad­dled with an in­ef­fec­tual bat­ting coach­ing and hide­bound man­age­ment. From early spring train­ing, the of­fense must prac­tice over and over sit­u­a­tional hit­ting — get­ting run­ners on base, ag­gres­sively mov­ing them along and putting the ball in play af­ter two strikes. And we need to uti­lize the bunt. We have speed in Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Manny Machado, Michael Bourn and oth­ers. Why aren’t they bunt­ing and at­tempt­ing steals? Our man­ager is not a risk-taker.

Un­less there are real changes in strat­egy put in place, un­til some con­tracts ex­pire, we’ll watch sev­eral more years of rather dull base­ball be­fore we have a divi­sion win­ner, much less a World Se­ries con­test, at Cam­den Yards.

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