The Orioles will once again give rookie Xavier Avery a shot at the starting lineup, called up today in place of Nick Johnson who was placed on the DL with a sprained wrist. The Orioles are hoping to have the same success the Nationals and Angels have had with rookie phenom’s Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. Avery did have some struggles in his first stint with the team this year that ended with a 3 for 30 slump, some believed he had become impatient at the plate and couldn’t hit breaking pitches.
While it was hard to see Avery sent down after seeing the potential he has not only in the outfield but on the bases, it appears to have improved his performance at the plate. In his last 10 games he is batting .333 in 39 AB, 4 SB, 5 RBI. During his time in Baltimore this year Avery had a .217AVG mired by his slump and had 4 stolen bases in 15 games. While the Orioles bats have apparently gone silent recently Avery could present the spark that reignites the team’s offense. Since Trout’s call up the struggling Angels went from a 6-14 start to 42-33, it also sparked the emergence of A. Pujol’s bat. The Orioles management will be hoping that Avery can have the same impact.
The Orioles have a team AVG of .235 in the month of June with a total of 81 runs so far with three days left in the month, in May and June they had 134 runs. While the offensive woes have raised some concern relief could be close to returning, Nick Markakis has just been cleared for baseball activity and would provide some offensive consistency. The bullpen has continued to be lights out thanks to Showalter’s management of innings, the top five relief pitchers have pitched between 33-36 innings.
One interesting statistic, in games following a loss by the Orioles N.Reimbold had an AVG of .421 in 5 games, followed by A.Jones .313 in 32 games then N.Markakis at .291. The Orioles take the field tonight at Camden against the Cleveland Indians (37-37) who have lost the last 5 games and will look to rebound against an Orioles team that has also been struggling losing six of the last eight. Don’t jump ship just yet, though the O’s have had some offensive struggles recently,however they still appear to be ‘buyers’ by the trade deadline and that could lean them more towards a ‘bat’ then another ‘arm’.
“It isn’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much can you take and keep moving forward? That’s how winning is done.”-Rocky Balboa. While it may seem corny the Orioles have already exceeded many expectations this season, but one fact remains, winning teams find ways to rebound from struggles. With 11 games left until the All-Star break, we will look to see if they can right the ship, “Why Not.”
Lew Ford .341 AVG continues to shine in the minors but his only downside could be his age, the Minor league journeymen has played well this year and many fans wanted to see him brought up with the current lack of offense. While Ford has been hitting well Avery can provide explosive speed on the bases and the outfield and consistent defense in left field, something the Orioles needed more.