Baltimore Orioles: The ‘all-or-nothing’ style offense is striking out

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: Manny Machado
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 15: Manny Machado /

The Baltimore Orioles are known for an ‘all-or-nothing,’ style offense. After 16 games though, there’s been more ‘nothing,’ than, ‘all.’

The Baltimore Orioles enter play on Tuesday with a record of 5-and-11, their worst start since 2010. That season, they finished 66-and-96, 30 games out of first place in the AL East.

Headlined by Nick Markakis, Luke Scott, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters, their offense finished the season eighth in batting average at .259. Their on-base percentage was 11th, at .316 and the team hit 133 home runs, good for tenth in the league.

While 16 games aren’t enough to determine how the season will play out, it certainly provides a quick glimpse. For example, the 2001 Baltimore Orioles had a batting average of .203 through their first 16 games. They finished that season 63-and-98, 32.5 games behind the Yankees. The 1988 Baltimore Orioles scored just 30 runs in their first 16 games. That was the season they started 1-and-21.

But, there’s one thing that sets the 2018 Baltimore Orioles apart from the others; they’ve struck out more times in 16 games than any other team in franchise history.

Striking out seems too natural

According to Baseball-Reference, since 1908, no other team has racked up more strikeouts than the 2018 Orioles. Last season, the Tampa Bay Rays went down on strikes 168 times, and in 2014, the New York Mets were punched out 158 times.

Hitters striking out feels natural at this point. Crunching the numbers, over the Orioles 459 total outs this season, 39% of them have come from a strikeout.

Baltimore Orioles
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 07: Adam Jones /

From top to bottom, Tim Beckham has struck out 24 times. Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones have gone down 19 times. Chris Davis has been rung up 18 times and Caleb Joseph, 15.

The trifecta of Manny Machado, Colby Rasmus, and Anthony Santander have all gone down on strikes 13 times. And last of the double-digit numbers, Trey Mancini and Chance Sisco have heard the strike three calls 12 times.

Right now, the Orioles are averaging 11 strikeouts per game. At this rate, they would finish the season with 1,782. To put it into perspective, the 2017 Milwaukee Brewers have the record for most strikeouts in a season, 1,571. Oddly enough, the Brewers broke their own record of 1,543 from the year before.

The postponement provides a much-needed break

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Yesterday’s finale in Boston was scheduled for 11:05, however, the game was called Sunday evening as heavy rain was forecasted all day. While the Orioles certainly needed a break, the unexpected off day may hurt the team in the long run.

They’ll now be forced to play 26 games in 27 days, beginning May 8.

Having been outscored by the Red Sox 20-to-7 in three games played at Fenway Park, the Orioles didn’t have their offense with them. Sure, they faced three excellent pitchers.

And sure, in the finale, they played one of the coldest games in their history. But, manager Buck Showalter won’t blame the weather for the lack of runs scored.

Speaking with the media after Sunday’s loss, Showalter said,

"“Well obviously, we’re facing Chris Sale, one of the best pitchers in baseball. Sometimes you think if you’re ever going to catch him, catch him on a night like tonight. Like today. It felt like night. Weather is the weather, it is what is it.”"

Next: Ramifications of Jonathan Schoop's injury

The Baltimore Orioles begin a three-game series in Detroit tonight, facing a left-handed starter, Francisco Liriano. The Tigers come into the series with just 91 strikeouts on the season, third-worst in the American League. If the Baltimore Orioles want to prevent an abysmal month of April, they’ll need to cut down on the strikeouts. Maybe, against the Detroit Tigers, they can do just that.