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June 16, 2011

O's: The lost art of patience

What does it tell you when the most patient hitter on the Orioles roster is Mark Reynolds, a guy who struck out more than 200 times in each of the past three seasons? When Reynolds walked in the third inning today, it was his 36th base on balls of the season, which is 15 more than anybody else in an Orioles uniform.

I've got to give him some credit for that, since I was pretty critical of the two times he looked at called third strikes in big RISP situations on Tuesday night, but I've got to wonder what's going on in the heads of the other hitters. I'll give Ricky Romero all the credit in the world for pitching a terrific game last night, but the O's helped make it possible by rushing him through the first two innings on just 14 pitches.

Maybe I'm stretching this point, but I've never seen so many hitters bail opposing pitchers out of great hitters' counts with pop ups and double-play balls. There's a difference between being aggressive in good hitting situations and being overly aggressive to the point where opposing pitchers know they do not have to throw the ball in the strike zone when the count is 2-0.

The Yankees and Red Sox squeeze pitchers by taking first strikes. The Orioles squeeze themselves by fishing for questionable pitches early in counts. Vladimir Guerrero can afford to do that. Adam Jones can't.

If you;'re watching the game right now, you just saw Derrek Lee swing from his heels at a 2-0 pitch that was low enough to hit him in the ankle. Next time I see him, I'll thank him for illustrating my point.

Instant update: Today, Zach Stewart is making his major league debut, and they're being shut out through five innings. He might be that good, but how are we supposed to know when the Orioles seem to make everybody look like Cliff Lee.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 1:09 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Just baseball


I've said it before, Pete, but why doesn't Buck - even for one game - mandate that EVERY hitter take at least one strike in EVERY at-bat? I'll bet we'd see a huge difference immediately. We'd force pitchers to throw way more pitches. I'd rather see a strikeout than a first pitch groundout.

Any word from Buck on the issue?

and that ladies and gentlemen is why Adams needs to go to AAA and play every ingle day. They know his fielding needs work, he's not hitting, and yet they keep him up here for part time duty.
this organization does things backwards and wrong.That's what they're good at.

As i write this, adams hits into his 3rd DP of the day. Not many guys can say they've done that...

Yes, the O's need to practice patience; the fans need to practice patience some more.

Pete, the one thing you have to consider with Lee is that he's playing for a contract next year, so he needs to get the HR swing going. This is part of the problem when you bring one year guys
into these type of situations. I know, it's terrible of me to cast aspersions on the professional ballplayer, but i look at guys in lee's situation as I do salesmen- always looking for their next job.

Instant update: Today, Zach Stewart is making his major league debut, and they're being shut out through five innings.


Of course, in the sixth, the O's scored twice, with the second of the two runs coming on Vladimir Guerrero's RBI double - a two-bagger that made Guerrero just the 94th player in Major League Baseball history with 2,500 hits - and the Schmuck typed not a mumbling word.

Hope the spread in the press box was worth it, Schmuck.

Pete's reply: We've got Dan Connolly posting that stuff to Orioles Insider. The press box spread sucks, but that's because I'm at home and my chef is struggling with his control.

To your surprise about Reynolds leading the team in walks, I'll add this: who would have expected that at this point in the year JJ Hardy (a career .264 hitter) would be leading the team in average, slugging, and on-base percentage (among player who have appeared in at least half of the team's games).

That's right, Hardy is beating Markakis, Jones, Weiters, Roberts, Guerrero and all the other "sluggers" up and down the batting order.

When Reynolds is leading the team in walks and Hardy is leading the team in hitting, you know your hitters aren't on their game.

Excellent article. This lack of discipline has been apparent for years..ON another topic. Reynolds getting doubled up today was one of the worst exhibitions of baserunning
I have seen inyears. The O's act like they are exhausted.


One nitpick: much of why Reynolds has so many strikeouts over the years is because he is so patient.

Otherwise, this has been an issue for a long time. It is also why so many people disliked Crowley as hitting coach: he had a very aggressive philosophy, which came through in how the hitters would approach their times at the plate.

The fact that the two best teams in the division over the past decade have been so successful in-part due to the patient approach they teach as well as look for in free agency, is that much worse.


Your point is well taken, but the difference between the Oriole's hitters and those for the Red Sox and Yankees is all about talent. Discipline and patience at the plate is a result of a hitter being confident hitting with two strikes. Those teams have more professional hitters who know how to work a pitcher. For the most part the Oriole hitters prefer to swing early in the count, rather than have to hit with two strikes.

My take on Reynolds is that the only reason he walks is because he is fooled on the pitch and can't pull the trigger.


This is what the players are doing minus Hardy, Jones, Weiters, Guthrie, Britton, Matuzuk and Arietta.

They are all waiting for something to happen. Case in point. Today’s game No offense, no scoring and no contact. Making a First Timer look like Cy Young again. I watched Lee shake his head as he hit the ball to the RF. If he can't see what he is doing why is he not in the film room and waiting to get back in the line up. I watched with bases loaded and Markekis again lazy ball to 2b for DP.

Another point is the defense- Adams boots and the wall caves in after the 2-0 led. Johnson can only throw strikes for hits.

Running bases - Reynolds looks like he was thinking the other team is lazy as he is but gets thrown out with embarrassment.

Last inning Gregg (the Stopper? The Closer? ) hands a home run to Lind the most dangerous hitter with no one on. Why not throw something off plate he absolutely cannot hit even to the point of a walk?

Waiting to have something to happen to Lose. That is the attitude of the majority of this teams players. Expecting to lose. Playing without fire in their belly.

Andy and Buck cannot wait longer. The ballots (by the players performance in 1/3 of the season) are in the players do not have the fire in them to play mlb pitch by pitch. They are not in the game and willing to give the extra 10%.
Time to make a statling and bold move with someone that make everyones head turn. eg Lee and Reynolds sit with Snyder and bring Bell up for 3b putting Scott on IR for season. Shock Terapy and let the electricty burn.

Sorry Pete but Patience and Waitng are what they have been doing. Results, Performance and Fire are the order of the day and future or get out.

It's not that surprising that strikeout king Mark Reynolds leads the team in walks.

A pitcher must throw at least 3 pitches in order to strike a batter out, and heaven knows not too many Orioles are patient enough to even let a pitcher throw 2 pitches before they start swinging.

Just imagine if a team decided not to allow its batters to swing at any pitches during an entire 9-inning game. This would force the opposing team's pitcher(s) to throw at least 81 pitches in order to get 27 (strike)outs (assuming no batters reached base and were picked off, caught stealing, etc.).

On the other hand, if the batters take a swing-at-everything approach they could conceivably ground or pop out on every 1st pitch, forcing the opposing team to throw only 27 pitches.


Excuses, excuses. China's nearly got as much rice as you've got excuses.

Don't blame Kid Connolly after you blogged one inning too early and then ignored history.

Will Adam Jones ever realize that he is a much better hitter. When hitting the ball to right field and not trying to pull every pitch. Does he listen to anyone. In May every year Adam starts doing all the right things and you think he finally has it. Then he's back to the old Adam Jones trying to pull everything and swinging at outside pitches in the dirt. Doing all the wrong things looking terrible at the plate

Thank you Peter. This is by far the most frustrating thing about watching the O's play on a near daily basis. What is even more frustrating is they seem to take the same approach no matter what the game situation is. These things add up over 162 games. I do not believe talent plays much of a role here. It may be a confidence issue but its not a talent issue with most of these guys. To me its a player development issue. The proper approach at the plate can be learned if it is valued...

the lack of patient hitting has been a problem for yrs in baltimore. even a guy like brian roberts..remember him..swung at many first balls leading off. the o's seldom make the opposing pitcher work hard. may the schmuck be with you.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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