Wednesday, June 20, 2007

5 Keys to the Season Revisited: June

It's June, let's look at the progress:

1. The O's lower their ERA by a full run this season

A 4.35 ERA was the goal and as of today the team ERA is 4.39. The pitching has slipped lately but considering the injuries the staff has sustained, we'll call this a goal met for now.

2. Markakis hits 25

Nick is on a pace for 21 homers. While that falls short of the goal, he is on pace for 46 doubles too. Pretty good slugging although he has been up and down. He slugged .524 in May but is only slugging .403 for June. I expect him to come around even though he is falling a bit short now.

3. Increased production from LF

Our leftfielders have only hit .253 with 1 HR all season. Our LF's OPS'd .681 last year and this year they are OPSing a measly .638. Anemic is not the word. It's a huge gaping hole in the offense.

Worse, when you combine this with the enormous dropoff in production from Corey Patterson in center, (our centerfielders are OPSing an abysmal .578) everything in the outfield left of Markakis is absolutely killing our lineup. To put it into perspective, Paul Bako is OPSing .558. Horrible.

4. Melvin Mora circa 2004....or at least 2005.

After a pretty good start, Melvin was producing at 2005 levels but has slowly drifted down and looks more like the 2006 version lately which is completely unacceptable. I don't expect Mora to continue to hit in the .240's all season so I am still hopeful he will rebound.

5. Health

Health has not been on Baltimore's side this season. Ramon Hernandez has missed significant time leaving the terrible Paul Bako to pick up the slack (which he hasn't). Jay Payton has not been great but a healthy Payton all year would have really helped our dismal LF production. Kris Benson, Jaret Wright and Adam Loewen went down early and none is likely to return this season.

It's not the biggest factor for the O's failures this year but it certainly hasn't helped.

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