A closer look at the Orioles' RISP woes
By request after the Orioles' abysmal 3-for-17 performance with runners in scoring position in Tuesday night's 7-5, 11-inning loss to the Detroit Tigers, let's break down a factor that has repeatedly doomed the Orioles this season. Here's an individual look at the RISP averages for the mainstays in the Orioles' lineup this season (from highest to lowest):
Nick Markakis, RF: .338
Corey Patterson, LF: .323
Adam Jones, CF: .253
Julio Lugo, 2B: .250
Craig Tatum, C: .250
Cesar Izturis, SS: .245
Ty Wigginton, 1B: .235
Miguel Tejada, 3B: .235
Scott Moore, IF: .231
Matt Wieters, C: .227
Luke Scott, DH: .133
It should come as no surprise that, Markakis and Patterson aside, it's hard to look at the RISP averages for any of these players and consider them respectable. And it's difficult to imagine that any of those hitters strikes fear into an opposing pitcher's heart when he comes to the plate with men on second and/or third.
Even more concerning are the RISP averages for some of the players who play the conventional "power" positions: .235 for Tejada at third base; .235 for Wigginton, the Orioles' All-Star representative, at first base; and a mind-boggling .133 for their usual DH, Scott. (Scott's average dips to .038 with runners in scoring position and two outs, by the way.)
As a team, the Orioles are last in the majors with a RISP average of .232, five points lower than the Toronto Blue Jays'. By contrast, the Cincinnati Reds lead the majors with a RISP average of .288, 56 points higher than the Orioles' number. The median team RISP average is .263, more than 30 points higher than the Orioles'.
So, as Dan Connolly pointed out in an earlier post, while there is bound to be plenty of vitriol reserved for the Orioles' bullpen and perhaps interim manager Juan Samuel's late-game decisions regarding his relievers, the Orioles' most telling -- and damning -- shortcoming this season certainly appears to be their continued failure to knock in runs with men in scoring position.