Orioles resurrection: Still a work in progress
It's pretty obvious that the Orioles are a better team today than they were two months ago, but they still do things that make you want to tear out your hair. Like a strange little span in the fifth inning of last night's game when Luke Scott and Adam Jones combined to get nine consecutive pitches out of the strike zone from Mariners starter David Pauley and swung at five of them.
Sure, it's easy to second-guess an at-bat from a distance, which is why I don't usually do that, but I was sitting in the stands behind the Orioles dugout, so I was seeing the plate from the same angle as Buck Showalter. Here's the situation:
The Orioles were down by three runs with Brian Roberts at second base and Scott ahead on the count 3-0. Though a walk would have gotten the potential tying run to the plate, Scott swung over the next two pitches -- both below the knees -- before grudgingly accepting a walk on a check-swing. Jones followed him to the plate and swung at three straight pitches down and apparently off the plate, finally pounding the last one into the ground and bouncing it weakly to short to end the inning.
Maybe I'm nit-picking, but it was pretty obvious that Pauley was up on the scouting reports and knew he didn't have to throw the ball in the strike zone to either of the Orioles' most aggressive hitters. The results speak for themselves.
The Orioles are showing a lot more plate discipline than they did earlier in the season, but not enough to avoid getting stifled on consecutive nights by somebody named Luke French and a pitcher (Pauley) who passed through the Orioles organization last year without making much of an impression.
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