Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Random Thoughts About the Oriole Winning Streak

Yeah, for the Orioles, four games IS a streak. Here are some random thoughts that don't deserve full posts of their own...


With all the veteran power bats the Orioles signed over the winter, it has been the 5'9" Brian Roberts who has been fueling the offense during Baltimore's 4-0 start.

Being a leadoff hitter, Roberts doesn't hit a ton of multi-run homers. He has two 3-run homers and 8 RBI in four games this season.

But this kind of start is not without precedent. If we go back to Roberts' breakout season of 2005, he also had 2 homers in the first four games with 5 RBI.

Will Roberts repeat his April from 2005? That month he hit .379/.459/.726 with 3 doubles, 3 triples and 8 home runs. Probably not. But April has historically been one of his best months. A hot Roberts (and a hot Nick Markakis) could carry the offense a long way until the big bats come around.


The Oriole pitching staff is holding their opponents to a .191 BABIP which is outstanding. However, they are giving up line drives at a 16% or .160 rate so far. The quick rule of thumb is to add .12 to the LD% to get an expected BABIP. So, the .191 BABIP is way below the expected .280 BABIP derived from the LD%. It's a small sample size and you would expect fluctuations like this over four games. But you should also expect some of those line drives to start dropping in for hits at some point.


The Orioles' April schedule is pretty daunting. They play (or have played) series with Tampa, Detroit, Texas, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota, New York again, Boston and Chicago. That is a long, challenging month.

However, the May schedule has series against Chicago, Kansas City, Tampa, Seattle, Tampa again, two short series with Boston and New York, Washington, Kansas City, Oakland and Seattle again. 

If the Orioles can stay hot and keep their heads above water for April, they have easier times ahead in May. This team could keep winning well into June.


After Monday's game, Matt Palmer from PressBoxOnline.com wrote this:

As an observation, the Orioles are better with the additions of Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee so far. That might seem like an early judgement, but the other hitters in the lineup are benefiting from the veteran presence. Guerrero's only batting .125 with no RBIs. Lee is batting just .214 with 0 RBIs. Brian Roberts, at the top of the order, is batting .294, however, with eight RBIs and two home runs. Nick Markakis, batting second, went 3 for 3 in the opener and is batting a scorching .429 with six hits. Pitchers are fearing what's coming after Roberts and Markakis instead of fearing the formidable duo at the top of the order.

First, I would direct Mr. Palmer here for proof that lineup protection does not exist or at the very least is incredibly overstated.

Second, even if I were to accept the concept of lineup protection, there are some logic fails with this argument. The guys hitting .125 and .214 are providing so much scary offense that Roberts and Markakis are seeing more good pitches? And how come Lee isn't benefiting from Vlad hitting behind him in the lineup? Shouldn't he be seeing better pitches too? If so, why is he hitting .214? And Matt Wieters has hit well so far. Is he benefiting from Adam Jones' .125 batting average too? And shouldn't Roberts and Markakis be seeing more fastballs? Because they're not. Roberts is seeing fastballs at about the same rate as he ever has. Markakis is actually seeing far less. There are a lot of holes in that story.

The top of the order is succeeding in spite of the "veteran presence" through four games, not because of it. Unless you believe in wizardry, voodoo and The Force.

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