Carlos Osorio / Associated Press
The Orioles’ offensive issues are chronicled daily, but the numbers are troubling enough to repeat. They’ve scored 3.25 runs per game in 17 July games, topping three runs just four times. And while the notion of clutch hitting isn’t necessarily real, you need to hit when runners are on base, and the Orioles are struggling with that. They had five hits with runners in scoring position in 70 July at-bats before the break, and are 10-for-45 since, good for a .143 average. They were among the league leaders before this skid, and are getting plenty of opportunities with runners on, but things don’t turn around until this aspect of their game improves.
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Kathy Willens / Associated Press
All that said, the Orioles are still hitting home runs at a consistent rate. They have 23 in 17 July games after Thursday’s three home run outburst, a pace that would give them 33 this month. That would rank behind June’s 38 home runs, but still be their second best month. Thursday’s home runs were symptomatic of something that’s bugged the Orioles all month. All but six of those July home runs are solo home runs, contributing to their season total of 76-of-118 (64 percent) coming with the bases empty. That’s only four points higher than the league-wide rate of 60-percent of home runs being with runners on base, but the July percentage of 74 percent is abnormally high, and looks worse considering how much they struggle with men on.
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The Orioles (46-48) began the month a half-game up in the American League East, and just over three weeks later, are seven games out and in a precarious position nearing the trade deadline. This week’s Five for Friday examines some key elements of their slide, including some statistical anomalies, bad luck, and more.